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Afghanistan
A Cultural History
St John Simpson

published 2012 • 6 ¾” x 9” • 160 pages • full-color • maps
ISBN 9781566568548 • paperback • $19.95

The colorful illustrations of this informative and very accessible introduction to the archaeology and cultural history of Afghanistan make it the most attractive volume available on its subject matter. Simpson is an archaeologist and assistant keeper of the ancient Iran and Arabia collections in the British Museum, and he displays a thorough, insightful understanding of the underlying complexities of Afghanistan's location as the "crossroads of Asia."...Simpson also emphasizes the significant contributions of the indigenous peoples themselves to Afghanistan's history, rather than interpreting their lives and destinies as simple products of external intervention and determination...the book definitely belongs in any university or public library collections on Afghanistan. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries.”—Choice


More Reviews »

A fascinating illustrated introduction to the cultural history, peoples, art, and civilization of this ancient region—the gateway between East and West, North and South

• A highly topical guide to one of the most critically important places on the globe—both today and throughout history

• Essential reading for anyone seeking a fuller context for the current situation in the region

• Presents the extraordinarily rich heritage of a country that is one of the great cultural and artistic melting pots of the world

• Illustrated with a large selection of objects, ancient and modern

While the modern nation can trace its origins back to 1747, the history of Afghanistan is far more ancient. It has long been a focal point of the Silk Road and human migration and many native peoples such as the Kushans, Samanids, Saffarids, and Mughals have founded their empires here. Afghanistan has also been the target of numerous invasions and is therefore one of the most critically diverse places on earth.

This lively book places this rich and ancient seam of creativity in its broad historical context and offers the reader a full appreciation of a most remarkable country.

Dr. St John Simpson is Assistant Keeper of Ancient Iran and Arabia at the British Museum. He has excavated in the Middle East and Central Asia and was the lead curator and editor of the exhibition catalog Queen of Sheba: Treasures from Ancient Yemen.


Media Reviews
“With this slight cultural sampler, Simpson...looks past the recent turmoil in Afghanistan to explore the rich history of the “Crossroads of Asia.” The book, using many impressive photographs from the British Museum, features important archeological finds illuminating pivotal economic, cultural, and political events of this mountainous land with its fertile area of the southeast, boasting a bounty of metals and minerals as well as a thriving opium cash crop. An army of archeologists from around the globe discovered priceless pottery and other daily objects, graves, coins, and sculpture from ancient societies throughout Afghanistan, from the Achaemenid age to the years of Alexander the Great and the Islamic dynasties in medieval times.”—Publishers Weekly

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