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Book cover of Lion's Grave: Dispatches from Afghanistan

Lion's Grave: Dispatches from Afghanistan

by Jon Lee Anderson, Thomas Dworzak

Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Pages: 244
Paperback
ISBN: 9780802140258






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Overview of Lion's Grave: Dispatches from Afghanistan

"Jon Lee Anderson arrived in Afghanistan ten days before U.S. bombers began pounding Al Qaeda and Taliban forces. He followed the fighting and reported the peace - or what passed for it - as The New Yorkers' only correspondent on the ground. Anderson witnessed the fall of Kunduz, one of the Taliban's last bastions, and made a hair-raising trip across the Hindu Kush to Kabul, where the interim government was clumsily taking power. In Kandahar, he found that the Taliban were not simply the austere, self-abnegating men they claimed to be. His reports include portraits of warlords, crafty politicians, fighters who have a distinctly non-Western view of loyalty, and an American soldier of fortune. Anderson's report on the search for Osama bin Laden in the caves of Tora Bora is published here for the first time. In the final dispatch, he investigates the assassination of the charismatic Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud - the Lion of the Panjshir - who was murdered by Al Qaeda agents two days before the attacks of September 11th in New York and Washington. Massoud's death haunts all of Anderson's stories about what happened in Afghanistan in the months that followed." Anderson had covered the mujahideen's war against the communist-backed government in Kabul over a decade earlier, but even seasoned reporters had a rough time moving around Afghanistan now. Most of the country had no electricity or phone service, and Anderson communicated with The New Yorker via e-mail over a satellite phone powered by a gasoline generator. He and his traveling companion, the young German photographer Thomas Dworzak, whose photographs accompany the dispatches here, fought their own battles with sandstorms, bandits, recalcitrant equipment, and officialdom. A selection of Anderson's e-mails to the magazine frame the dispatches in The Lions' Grave, providing an intimate narrative of what it was like to report a high-technology conflict in feudal terrain.

Synopsis of Lion's Grave: Dispatches from Afghanistan

New Yorker staff writer Jon Lee Anderson arrived in Afghanistan to report for the magazine ten days before U.S. bombers began pounding Al Qaeda and Taliban forces. His dispatches provide an unprecedented and riveting on-the-ground account of the Afghan conflict, and his e-mails to the magazine — selections of which frame the pieces here — paint a vivid behind-the-scenes portrait of war journalism. From the battle for the Taliban bastion of Kunduz and the interim government's clumsy takeover of Kabul, to the search for Osama bin Laden in the Tora Bora caves and the truth of Al Qaeda's assassination of charismatic Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud — two days before September 11, 2001 — Anderson offers an unprecedented look into the forces that shape the conflict and the players who may threaten Afghanistan's future. In the distinguished tradition of New Yorker war reporting, The Lion's Grave illuminates a region to which we will be inextricably bound for some time to come.

Library Journal

9/11 Afghanistan has long been one of the least developed countries in the world. It was elevated to the forefront of the Cold War after the Soviet Union's invasion and the bloody war that ensued for the next decade. After the Soviet withdrawal, Afghanistan descended into a long period of chaos, destruction, and hopelessness engendered by the ongoing civil war. It was in this atmosphere that Osama bin Laden, the Saudi millionaire turned terrorist, found a convenient base of operations. In this book, Anderson, a veteran foreign correspondent and a staff writer for The New Yorker who had previously covered the Afghan war against the Soviet Union, presents a riveting account of developments in Afghanistan since September 11, 2001. The author's reporting reflects an astute understanding of the constellation of sociopolitical forces in today's Afghanistan. Anderson's penetrating observations and his ability to bring life to his subject the fall of Kandahar and Kunduz, the dangerous search of the Tora Bora caves are admirable. Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries. Nader Entessar, Spring Hill Coll., Mobile, AL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Editorials

From Barnes & Noble

Almost no war reportage in recent memory can match the force or subtlety of Jon Lee Anderson's New Yorker Afghanistan dispatches. Within weeks of the September 11th attacks, this veteran foreign correspondent returned to Kabul to cover his second war in the mountainous, inhospitable Asian country. Not content with government and military releases, he ventured into the country, interviewing villagers, warlords, even prisoners of war. These dispatches, now collected in The Lion's Grave, present a conflict far more complicated and chaotic than anyone outside the country could have imagined.

Library Journal

9/11 Afghanistan has long been one of the least developed countries in the world. It was elevated to the forefront of the Cold War after the Soviet Union's invasion and the bloody war that ensued for the next decade. After the Soviet withdrawal, Afghanistan descended into a long period of chaos, destruction, and hopelessness engendered by the ongoing civil war. It was in this atmosphere that Osama bin Laden, the Saudi millionaire turned terrorist, found a convenient base of operations. In this book, Anderson, a veteran foreign correspondent and a staff writer for The New Yorker who had previously covered the Afghan war against the Soviet Union, presents a riveting account of developments in Afghanistan since September 11, 2001. The author's reporting reflects an astute understanding of the constellation of sociopolitical forces in today's Afghanistan. Anderson's penetrating observations and his ability to bring life to his subject the fall of Kandahar and Kunduz, the dangerous search of the Tora Bora caves are admirable. Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries. Nader Entessar, Spring Hill Coll., Mobile, AL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews

Intense, immediate reporting from the front lines in Afghanistan. Seized, as soon as the destruction of September 11 became known, with the idea of filing from Afghanistan, New Yorker correspondent Anderson found he needed to bring all of his experience into play just to get into the country. ("One can always find a way to get smuggled in," he assured his editor, Sharon DeLano, by e-mail on September 12th.) He made it about two weeks later and began sending reports on the lay of the land, the combatants, and the state of affairs among civilians. Here, he presents those pieces, written over the next eight months, in conjunction with his e-mail correspondence with DeLano. The essays (most previously published in the New Yorker) offer snapshots of the war's progress as Anderson chews over the progression of events with local Northern Alliance leaders, pokes around an abandoned bin Laden compound, interviews the occasional Afghan woman who will risk being seen with him, ferrets out the origin of the rumors of poisoned humanitarian aid rations (some Afghans had eaten the preservative drying agents that keep the food fresh), and casts an eye over Kabul after the fall of the Taliban. His e-mail traces how he got these stories. The result is a sort of war-watcher's travelogue, letting us in on the vicissitudes that dictate where our man winds up: the difficulties of getting visas, or even moving from one town to another along bandit-controlled byways; the free-wheeling insults traded between reporters and cranky, gun-wielding fighters; the kluges necessitated by meeting deadlines in a pre-industrial landscape; and the love inspired by a fully functional Toughbook computer and Inmarsat satellitephone. An important and eminently readable account from the heart of chaos. First printing of 50,000

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