Moscow vs. the Mujahideen - Wall Street Journal book reviews by Brian M. Downing.
The Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979-89) has passed from being the subject of angry international debate to the object of calm historical inquiry, but given the current conflict there, the period retains a certain urgent resonance. Two new books shed useful light on those days. In "Afgantsy," Rodric Braithwaite, the British ambassador in Moscow at war's close, explores the Soviets' decision to intervene, the experience of soldiers and the war's effects back home. The book is based on interviews with senior government officials and soldiers of all ranks. In "A Long Goodbye," Artemy Kalinovsky, a Western-educated academic, presents a more formal, highly detailed study of the Soviet withdrawal.