In This Review

The Soviet-Afghan War: How a Superpower Fought and Lost

The Soviet-Afghan War: How a Superpower Fought and Lost
Edited by Lester W. Grau and Michael A. Gress
364 pp, University Press of Kansas, 2002
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Now that the United States has its own Afghan war, this edited and translated collection of Russian general staff studies should attract more readers than usual. The tone is clinical, professional, and technical, but the book frequently glosses over the brutality of the Soviet occupation and the disintegrating morale of the soldiers stationed there. The editors' view of the importance of military technology borders on the dismissive and misses a basic point: the Soviets had both inadequate technology and deeply demoralized troops, two factors that contributed to their campaign's failure.