William Dalrymple, the prize-winning British travel and history writer, will give a special talk about his new book on Afghanistan: The Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-42, to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council on April 29th. The book is about the disastrous British invasion of Afghanistan nearly two centuries ago, but as Dalrymple makes clear, there are many lessons for the current US campaign in Afghanistan. As Edmund Burke so memorably said: “Those who do not know history are destined to repeat it.”
Dalrymple tells the eerily familiar tale of the world’s most powerful military force at the time occupying Afghanistan, installing a puppet ruler – Shah Shuja – and then seeing the Afghan tribes rise in revolt against the “colonial invader”. Within three years the British are forced to retreat, suffering huge losses, and leaving ongoing conflict behind them. As the book shows, the British occupation was too expensive, had dwindling support at home, and Britain faced more pressing issues elsewhere.
The author of seven previous books on India, Central Asia and the Middle East, including the City of Djinns and White Mughals, Dalrymple divides his time between New Delhi and London. He will be talking to the Council at the top travel bookstore in LA, Traveler’s Bookcase, a compact but stimulating space on 3rd St in West Hollywood. Light refreshments will be served before the talk.
To RSVP please call (424) 258-6160