The Getty Center
Date: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Harold M. Williams Auditorium
Past Event

Award-winning historian and journalist William Dalrymple recounts the First Anglo-Afghan War, an infamous 1839 British invasion of the remote kingdom of Afghanistan, with penetrating, balanced insight, illuminating the uncanny similarities between the West's first disastrous entanglement with Afghanistan and the situation today.

In researching for his new book, Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, Dalrymple accessed newly discovered primary sources from archives in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, and India (including a series of previously untranslated Afghan epic poems and biographies). Led by lancers in scarlet cloaks and plumed helmets, and facing little resistance, nearly 20,000 British and East India Company troops poured through mountain passes from India into Afghanistan in order to reestablish Shah Shuja ul-Mulk on the throne—and as their puppet. But after little more than two years, the Afghans rose to answer the call for jihad and the country exploded into rebellion. This First Anglo-Afghan War ended with an entire army of what was then the most powerful military nation in the world ambushed and destroyed in snowbound mountain passes by simply equipped Afghan tribesmen. Only one British man survived.

William Dalrymple is the author of seven previous works of history and travel, including City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi; From the Holy Mountain: A Journey among the Christians of the Middle East; White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in 18th-Century India; and The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty: Delhi, 1857, which won the Duff Cooper Prize. Dalrymple divides his time between New Delhi and London and is a contributor to the New York Review of Books and the New Yorker.

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