In the early 1970s, Edmund Yorke first began researching the 'Great Game' in Central Asia, focusing on Britain's diplomatic and military involvement in Afghanistan from the 1800s to the 1840s. Over the past four decades he has extended this work to include the two subsequent Anglo-Afghan wars, culminating in the current prolonged NATO-led coalition war in Afghanistan. Playing the Great Game explores and analyzes the tension between the British political and military authorities that has been generated by the impact of all these wars. It argues that excessive political interference in the conduct of such wars, which is often resource-driven, has been the predominate cause of the many difficulties encountered by Britain in its involvement in this remote and intractable country. With the help of previously unpublished source material, including maps and photographs, this book sheds new light on this fascinating and complex subject. It also includes a revisionist interpretation of all the key campaigns and battles that highlights the crucial role played in the conflict by Afghan collaborators.
Dr Edmund Yorke holds BA and MA degrees from Reading and London Universities, as well as a doctorate from the University of Cambridge. He was formerly a part-time tutor at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and University College, Oxford, and a visiting tutor at the Royal College of Defence Studies in London. He is widely published in the field of British imperial history and Commonwealth political and military history, including studies of the New South Africa, Anglo-Zulu, Anglo-Boer and Falklands wars. He is currently a senior lecturer in the Department of War Studies at Sandhurst and is also a member of the British Commission for Military History. He has just completed a series of three annual lectures on the Anglo-Afghan wars at the National Army Museum, London. He is a former member of the Royal African and Royal Commonwealth Societies.