The Great Gamble
The Soviet War in Afghanistan
By Gregory Feifer
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061143199, 336pp.)
Publication Date: January 2010
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a grueling debacle that has striking lessons for the twenty-first century. In The Great Gamble, Gregory Feifer examines the conflict from the perspective of the soldiers on the ground. In gripping detail, he vividly depicts the invasion of a volatile country that no power has ever successfully conquered. A riveting account as seen through the eyes of the men who fought in the war, The Great Gamble tells an unforgettable story full of drama, action, and political intrigue whose relevance in our own time is greater than ever.
Gregory Feifer is the former Moscow correspondent for National Public Radio. He was educated at Harvard University and lives in Prague with his wife, Elizabeth, and son, Sebastian.
“This is a provocative and important book, telling us what the Soviet military was thinking and feeling as it lost its war in Afghanistan. Gregory Feifer vividly shows that their campaigns there amounted to a manual of how not to do it.”
-Thomas Ricks, author of Fiasco and The Gamble
“Feifer’s thoughtful, deliberative use of eyewitness testimony gives an intensely close-up sense of what the war was like for those who fought it.”
“Feifer brings to life in spirited detail the bloody, eight-year struggle that killed a million Afghans and tens of thousands of Russians and broke the back of the Soviet Union, which disappeared within two years of the war’s end. You think it can’t happen to us? Read Feifer.”
-Thomas Powers, author of Heisenberg’s War
“Tracing the arc of the Soviets’ military disillusionment in Afghanistan, Feifer, who is an NPR reporter in Moscow, provides essential historical background to the present war in Afghanistan.”