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Account of the Kingdom of Caubul, and Its Dependencies in Persia, Tartary, and India: Comprising a View of the Afghaun Nation, and a History of the Dooraunee Monarchy

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Mountstuart Elphinstone (1779-1859) was a Scottish diplomat and colonial administrator. After joining the civil service of the East India Company in 1796 he was appointed the first British envoy to the Court of Kabul in 1808. In 1819 he was appointed the Governor of Bombay, and after his retirement in 1827 he devoted his life to historical and literary studies. First publi Mountstuart Elphinstone (1779-1859) was a Scottish diplomat and colonial administrator. After joining the civil service of the East India Company in 1796 he was appointed the first British envoy to the Court of Kabul in 1808. In 1819 he was appointed the Governor of Bombay, and after his retirement in 1827 he devoted his life to historical and literary studies. First published in 1815, this volume contains Elphinstone's detailed description of the Kingdom of Afghanistan. Elphinstone describes the geography, economy and political situation of the kingdom and provides a brief account of Afghan history. He also gives the first detailed ethnographic accounts of the various Afghan tribes and ethnic groups in the kingdom. This fascinating volume informed British military and diplomatic policy in the region until the 1840s, and remained the main source of information on the culture of the Afghan tribes for much of the nineteenth century.


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Mountstuart Elphinstone (1779-1859) was a Scottish diplomat and colonial administrator. After joining the civil service of the East India Company in 1796 he was appointed the first British envoy to the Court of Kabul in 1808. In 1819 he was appointed the Governor of Bombay, and after his retirement in 1827 he devoted his life to historical and literary studies. First publi Mountstuart Elphinstone (1779-1859) was a Scottish diplomat and colonial administrator. After joining the civil service of the East India Company in 1796 he was appointed the first British envoy to the Court of Kabul in 1808. In 1819 he was appointed the Governor of Bombay, and after his retirement in 1827 he devoted his life to historical and literary studies. First published in 1815, this volume contains Elphinstone's detailed description of the Kingdom of Afghanistan. Elphinstone describes the geography, economy and political situation of the kingdom and provides a brief account of Afghan history. He also gives the first detailed ethnographic accounts of the various Afghan tribes and ethnic groups in the kingdom. This fascinating volume informed British military and diplomatic policy in the region until the 1840s, and remained the main source of information on the culture of the Afghan tribes for much of the nineteenth century.

31 review for Account of the Kingdom of Caubul, and Its Dependencies in Persia, Tartary, and India: Comprising a View of the Afghaun Nation, and a History of the Dooraunee Monarchy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Mountstuart Elphinstone was a Scottish statesman and diplomat who had a nuanced view of the lands of the Near East and India where he was stationed that were certainly forward-reaching for his time and in addition, he was also a consummate historian and author who provides us with this book. The "Kingdom of Caubul" is what we now know as Afghanistan and surprisingly enough (or not), it's not changed that much since Elphinstone's own time (1779 – 1859). What Ephinstone describes in this thick vol Mountstuart Elphinstone was a Scottish statesman and diplomat who had a nuanced view of the lands of the Near East and India where he was stationed that were certainly forward-reaching for his time and in addition, he was also a consummate historian and author who provides us with this book. The "Kingdom of Caubul" is what we now know as Afghanistan and surprisingly enough (or not), it's not changed that much since Elphinstone's own time (1779 – 1859). What Ephinstone describes in this thick volume is a land that is not united by a central government despite the title of "kingdom" given to Caubul, but instead ruled by various tribal groups and networks. Such is much the same case today. Elphinstone's book is therefore of continued interest to scholars, area specialists, and military planners interested in Afghanistan and Central Asia. Moreover, it's useful in charting the historical evolution of lands that have changed very much in socio-governmental composition today, such as Tarary and India. Elphinstone wasn't just a diplomat with too much spare time on his hands; he was in fact a skilled historian and scholar in his own right and his work shows more than just his personal observations and is probably as good as any from its period, but couple this with the fact he was a man in the center of diplomacy and you get a lot of rare insights into how actually governments worked. You also get a narrative that is deeply engrossing though at times dry, and with a keen eye for both important political aspects and sociocultural history that too often was neglected by writers of Elphinstone's time. Some of the names of rulers and even places will not ring any bells with contemporary readers—unless they are really, really, up on their history of the region—but overall the book is very easy to read and is a good contrast on current-day writing about Afghanistan. Sometimes, the author uses terms such as "sirdar" for flag officers outside Egypt while most military historians will associate that rank with a four-star general in Egypt and in Elphinstone's application it appears to indicate a slightly lower (but still flag-level) rank. When reading historiography from this period, it's useful to remember that writers would use terms that would be best understood by their intended readership—which in this case would be upper-class political and military folks in the UK, so sometimes terms are used outside their exact gamut if they would work for the readers Elphinstone had in mind. I will leave you with this great quote from the book about travel in Afghanistan which I expect many American and other military men who have served there would say rings too true even today: "In many parts of the kingdom travellers enjoy security by engaging an escort of the tribe, or by paying customs to its chief; but the King can do little to protect them, except by sending troops to ravage the land of notoriously pedatory tribes, and to bring in the chiefs."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Qb

    The kingdom of caubul,in two volumes,(vol.1 422 pages and vol.11 465 pages )is a truely landmark book on the subject of afghanistan and Afghans.Its a master piece and can be called as an authority on the subject.It is an encyclopaedic writing which covers almost everything relating to afghans,viz,geography,history,culture,beliefs,ethnicity,trade and commerce,rivers,mountains,cities and towns,climate,law ,military,Afghan"s neighbours etc.Though written in 1808 by the celebrated Mounstuart Elphini The kingdom of caubul,in two volumes,(vol.1 422 pages and vol.11 465 pages )is a truely landmark book on the subject of afghanistan and Afghans.Its a master piece and can be called as an authority on the subject.It is an encyclopaedic writing which covers almost everything relating to afghans,viz,geography,history,culture,beliefs,ethnicity,trade and commerce,rivers,mountains,cities and towns,climate,law ,military,Afghan"s neighbours etc.Though written in 1808 by the celebrated Mounstuart Elphinistone, it is still very much valid,its indeed a treasure of information.The style of the book is also very attractive.It appears that the book was primarily written with the idea of occupying that country which actually happened subsequently in the shape of 1st and 2nd Anglo- Afghan wars,entailing catastrophe for afghan and english people.While dealing with history,the sources have not been mentioned which may be because of abscence of written material in afghani language at that period of time.The book can really be called the single most important authortative account of Afghan-Pukhtun nation even this day.

  3. 4 out of 5

    James Sater

    A landmark in the literature pertaining to Afghanistan.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mansoor

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kai Weber

  6. 4 out of 5

    Carlo Cristofori

  7. 4 out of 5

    Warneraj

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shaheen imtiaz

  9. 4 out of 5

    Shaheen imtiaz

  10. 4 out of 5

    Khpalwak Yawzal

  11. 5 out of 5

    P.e.baracus

  12. 5 out of 5

    Zarak Khan

  13. 4 out of 5

    Fathima

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mohammad Ilyas

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sues57 Schroeder

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hajin Sahiba

  18. 4 out of 5

    Pacifire Indeep

  19. 4 out of 5

    Artyom Timeyev

  20. 4 out of 5

    Najwa

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nawid Sharify

  22. 5 out of 5

    Steven Chang

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mukhtar Umarov

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mark Carter

  25. 4 out of 5

    Senzi Nawid

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kehan Ch

  27. 5 out of 5

    Samina

  28. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Gryskewicz

  29. 4 out of 5

    A Razzaq Lalwal

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brendan Kyle Jure

  31. 4 out of 5

    John Antonio

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