Angus Hamilton was a British journalist who reported for a number of newspapers and journals between 1894 and 1912. Among the events he covered were the Boer War in South Africa, the Boxer uprising in China, and the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–5. Like most books of this period, Afghanistan approaches its subject through the prism of the rivalry between Great Britain and Russia for influence in Central Asia, the so-called “Great Game.” The first chapter is devoted to the Orenburg−Tashkent Railway (in present-day Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan) recently completed by the Russians. It is followed by chapters devoted to the khanates, provinces, and districts to the north of Afghanistan, notably Bukhara, Tashkent, Samarkand, and Merv, territories located in present-day Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Subsequent chapters cover Herat, Kandahar, Seistan (Sistan), and Kabul. Hamilton also devotes separate chapters to the provinces and ethnic groups in the country; administration, law, and revenue; trade and industry; and the army. The author highly praises Abd al-Rahman Khan, ruler of Afghanistan from 1880 to 1901, for his work in creating a modern army, but concludes: “It is to be regretted that the late Amir, while evolving out of a heterogeneous collection of warring tribes a settled and independent country, failed to bequeath to his son any portion of his own singular abilities.” His son and successor was Habibullah Khan (1872–1919, reigned 1901–19). Presented here is a second edition of the book, published in Boston and Tokyo as part of the “Oriental Series.” The first edition was published in London in 1906.

Last updated: September 30, 2016