To hear some audio clips from this book click on the players below:
Afghanistan is frequently in the news today but it is not always remembered that the recent conflict is Britain’s fourth Afghan War. The first was from 1839 to 1842, the second 1878 to 1882, the third in 1919, with continuous border clashes before, after and between. Basically, they all began because Afghans have always resisted foreign interference.
When the writer and actor, Brian Wright, began to look into his family history he discovered that his family, like thousands of British, Indian and Pakistani families, supplied the British Army in India with volunteer privates and NCOs, starting with his great great great grandad in 1804. His son, Brian’s great great grandad, served during the first Afghan war, his great grandad fought in the second, and a great uncle in the third. His grandad and his father spent the best years of their youth guarding the Afghan frontier. Brian’s dad told him stories and left a few photos, but for the rest all that remains is bare army records.
At this distance, it would be hard to imagine the lives the Grandads and their families led, were it not for unique echoes of them in Rudyard Kipling’s work, based on his experience as a journalist just after the second Afghan War. After his death in 1936 Kipling gradually fell from grace but in recent years his remarkable skill as a wordsmith, his integrity and the inspiration he took from both his Indian and English heritage have restored him to his place as a major writer. In recent times, with new empires rising to replace the old, his military stories and poems have acquired new resonance. In this audio book Brian Wright uses his own family’s experiences, together with extracts from Kipling’s prose and verse to bring us a unique and personal picture of Britain’s previous involvement in Afghanistan.