Killing the Cranes by Edward Girardet
A Reporter's Journey Through Three Decades of War in Afghanistan

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Few reporters have covered Afghanistan as intrepidly and humanely as Edward Girardet. Now, in a gripping, personal account, Girardet delivers a story of that nation's resistance fighters, foreign invaders, mercenaries, spies, aid workers, Islamic extremists, and others who have defined Afghanistan's last thirty years of war, chaos, and strife.

As a young foreign correspondent, Girardet arrived in Afghanistan just three months prior to the Soviet invasion in 1979. Over the next decades, he trekked hundreds of miles across rugged mountains and deserts on clandestine journeys following Afghan guerrillas in battle as they smuggled French doctors into the country, and as they combated each other as well as invaders. He witnessed the world's greatest refugee exodus, the bitter Battle for Kabul in the early 1990s, the rise of the Taliban, and, finally, the US-led Western military and recovery effort that began in 2001.

Girardet's encounters with key figures-including Ahmed Shah Massoud, the famed "Lion of Panjshir" assassinated by al Qaeda two days before 9/11, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Islamic extremist massively supported by the Americans during the 1980s only to become one of today's most ruthless anti-Western insurgents, and Osama bin Laden-shed extraordinary light on the personalities who have shaped the nation, and its current challenges, from corruption and narcotics trafficking to selfish regional interests.

Killing the Cranes provides crucial insights into why the West's current involvement has turned into such a disaster, not only rekindling a new insurgency, but squandering billions of dollars on a recovery process that has shown scant success.


About Edward Girardet

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Edward Girardet is a journalist, writer and producer who has reported widely from humanitarian and conflict zones in Africa, Asia and elsewhere since the late 1970s. As a foreign correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor, US News and World Report, and The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour based in Paris, he first began covering Afghanistan several months prior to the Soviet invasion in 1979. He has worked on numerous television current affairs and documentary segments on subjects ranging from the war in Angola to lost tribes in Western New Guinea and environmental issues in Africa for major European and North American broadcasters. Girardet is a founding director of the Institute for Media and Global Governance in Geneva, Switzerland. He is also editor of Crosslines Essential Media Ltd (UK). Girardet has written widely for major publications such as National Geographic Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, International Herald Tribune, Financial Times and other media on humanitarian, media and conflict issues. He has also written and edited several books, notably Afghanistan - The Soviet War (1985), Somalia, Rwanda and Beyond (1996), Populations in Danger (1996), and The CROSSLINES Essential Field Guide to Afghanistan (1998, 2004 and 2006). Girardet lives with his family in Cessy, France, near the Swiss border with Geneva.
Published August 8, 2012 by Chelsea Green Publishing. 435 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Killing the Cranes

Kirkus Reviews

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From longtime journalist and producer Girardet (Afghanistan: The Soviet War, 1986, etc.), an insightful personal account of Afghanistan and its people from 1979 to the present.

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Publishers Weekly

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European-based journalist Girardet (Afghanistan: The Soviet War) shares his personal story of the Russian occupation of Afghanistan and offers disturbing parallels to America's involvement.

Jul 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Killing the Cranes: A Reporte...

Christian Science Monitor

Probably no journalist understands the country known as Afghanistan better than Edward Girardet, who has written about events there for the Monitor and other publications since 1979.

Dec 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Killing the Cranes: A Reporte...

Washington Independent Review of Books

He also wrote the nonfiction book The Speed of Heat: An Airlift Wing at War in Iraq and Afghanistan, and his essay “Night Flight to Baghdad” appeared in the anthology Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families.

Sep 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Killing the Cranes: A Reporte...

Library Journal

With his vast experience inside Afghanistan during different conflicts, Girardet presents strong evidence that foreign powers from the British to the Soviets to the Americans have all made the same mistakes by attempting to impose their own political models and values on a nation that does not fi...

Nov 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Killing the Cranes: A Reporte...

ForeWord Reviews

Afghan poet Massoud Khalili lamented that the wars that plagued Afghanistan for more than thirty years likely drove the cranes away from their annual migration over his country.

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