Games without Rules by Tamim Ansary
The Often-Interrupted History of Afghanistan

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Today, most Westerners still see the war in Afghanistan as a contest between democracy and Islamist fanaticism. That war is real; but it sits atop an older struggle, between Kabul and the countryside, between order and chaos, between a modernist impulse to join the world and the pull of an older Afghanistan: a tribal universe of village republics permeated by Islam.

Now, Tamim Ansary draws on his Afghan background, Muslim roots, and Western and Afghan sources to explain history from the inside out, and to illuminate the long, internal struggle that the outside world has never fully understood. It is the story of a nation struggling to take form, a nation undermined by its own demons while, every 40 to 60 years, a great power crashes in and disrupts whatever progress has been made. Told in conversational, storytelling style, and focusing on key events and personalities, Games without Rules provides revelatory insight into a country at the center of political debate.


About Tamim Ansary

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Tamim Ansary is the author of Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World through Islamic Eyes and West of Kabul, East of New York, among other books. For ten years he wrote a monthly column for, and has published essays and commentary in the San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, Alternet,, Edutopia, Parade, Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. Born in Afghanistan in 1948, he moved to the U.S. in 1964. He lives in San Francisco, where he is director of the San Francisco Writers Workshop.
Published November 27, 2012 by PublicAffairs. 418 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Repeated invasions helped coalesce the Afghan state, firm up its borders and establish the capital at Kabul, as well as helping “unleash the unruly energy of Afghan tribal society.” As a native of Kabul, Ansary lends precious insight into the makeup of the typical Afghan village, with its tidy, s...

Oct 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Games without Rules: The Ofte...

Publishers Weekly

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Long one of the most disputed territories in the world, Afghanistan holds a strategic geographical position that has placed it in the way of empires for centuries.

Dec 17 2012 | Read Full Review of Games without Rules: The Ofte...

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