An Afghanistan Picture Show: Or, How I Saved the World by William T. Vollmann

By William T. Vollmann

Never earlier than to be had in paperback and all yet invisible for 20 years, a private account of the origins of America's longest war.

In 1982, the younger William Vollmann labored unusual jobs, together with as a secretary at an assurance corporation, until eventually he'd stored up sufficient funds to visit Afghanistan, the place he desired to subscribe to the mujahedeen to struggle the Soviets. The ensuing e-book wasn't released until eventually 1992, and Library Journal rated it: "The mistaken ebook written on the incorrect time. . . . With the location in Afghanistan speedily heading towards resolution . . . libraries may well accurately pass this."

Thirty years later--and with the U.S. nonetheless mired within the longest battle of its history--it's time for a reassessment of Vollmann's heartfelt story of idealism and its terrifying betrayals.

An alloy of documentary and autobiographical parts attribute of Vollmann's later nonfiction, An Afghanistan photo Show isn't really a piece of traditional reportage; in its place, it is an account of a refined and obdurate recognition grappling with the boundaries of will and idealism imposed via violence and chaos.

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Extra resources for An Afghanistan Picture Show: Or, How I Saved the World

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Crickets chirped. The professor said, “Maybe it could have been done eventually without the liquidations. But I doubt it. Once their land was expropriated, would they have been content with that? Why did they have more land than the small peasants in the first place? If we left them there to make trouble in the villages, you can be assured that they would have gotten their neighbors in debt to them again; they would have schemed to do it. The land would become theirs again. ” “No,” he said, “I don’t think so.

Had I been physically fit, with a million dollars in my pocket, I still would have failed the Afghans, for I was nobody but myself. ” Nonetheless, while I now suspect that the Great Soviet Encyclopedia’s entry on altruism is very likely true, and the longer I think about it, the more examples of its truth I can see—French Jesuit missionaries saving Amerindians from their satanic idols, and destroying their societies in the process; American missionaries saving Afghan women from the misogyny of the Taliban, and in the process bringing about a revival of the same warlordism which raped and abducted vast numbers of Afghan women—the passage of years also strengthens my belief in the absolute necessity of encouraging altruistic aspirations all over this earth of ours.

His two new friends, Akbar and Muhammed Ibrahim, stood protectively on either side. Muhammed Ibrahim insisted on carrying his pack for him. The Young Man, who’d spent hours in the heat trying to get his railway ticket to Peshawar, being bullied by people who wanted to do him expensive services, terrified by wailing beggar-women who pantomimed that they were dying of hunger (were they? how could he tell? ), cheek-stroked by smiling prostitutes, reviled by the men in official red uniforms (COOLIE NO.

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