Since September 11th 2011 Afghanistan has dominated the news, as it did for a decade during the Soviet occupation (1979-89), and long before, when, in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, its mountain ranges formed the backdrop to the Great Game. Angelo Rasanayagam has revised and updated his magisterial work, which is the first major history of modern Afghanistan. It traces the country’s development from the succession of Abdul Rahman Khan, the ‘Iron Amir’ in 1880, through to the demise of the Taliban under US bombing over the winter of 2001 and the interim regime that was subsequently established in Kabul by Hamid Karzai. Afghanistan: A Modern History is of vital importance for understanding the country’s current crisis and the challenges it faces. Angelo Rasanayagam’s book is essential reading for historians, policy-makers, journalists, students and all those interested in the state of the world history.