Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
In current discussions on Khyber knives and Afghan shashkas, it seemed timely to present some words on this wonderful new book, authored by our own Dmitry Miloserdov , "Edged Weapons of Afghanistan: 19th-early 20th c." (2019).
This book, while in Russian text, is breathtakingly illustrated with amazing examples of pertinent weaponry, as well as many other great accompanying illustrations. While I do not speak or read Russian, there are concise captions to describe the images, and honestly, I am so captivated by the photos of these examples it does not seem to matter.
The author has carefully researched this material for a good number of years, and what parts of the text I have been able to read through translation are outstanding. There is little reference in the west on the subject of Afghan weaponry, typically simply brief and cursory notes in various well known books on broader studies of other regions. Therefore there is considerable debate and contention among students of ethnographic arms.
The author does not just accept nor repeat the often commonly held notions or views on the arms of Afghanistan or its neighboring countries and regions, but presents his own versions in a thoughtful and well supported manner.
That is what makes this book provocative, fascinating and exciting. It describes and as required, challenges what we have often come to accept in the little material long standing in reference to these arms.
In my personal opinion, this is a long overdue reference on a area of arms which has seldom received exclusive attention, with beautifully photographed weapons that are a complete joy to see. These rare weapons are compelling and to have them just to admire, is amazing, even in the pages of such a book.
I very much recommend this book !!!
Thank you for the good words about my book. I am very pleased that you praised her so highly. I have no doubt that my book will cause a lot of controversy and discussion. And I even know in advance who will be especially hot to discuss
The book is written in Russian, but as Jim said, to all illustrations there are duplicate signatures in English. In addition, especially for those who are interested in my book, I have prepared its English translation and send it in Word format by e-mail to those who purchase my book. Of course, this translation is not perfect, but nevertheless it allows not only to look at excellent illustrations in my book, but also to understand my thoughts that I wanted to tell.
By the way, not only Jim already has my book, but also several other forum participants. I hope that they also write their opinion about the book.
And a little abstract of my book:
The book contains the previously unexplored data of cold weapons that were used in Afghanistan in 19th-20th centuries. First of all the author describes the military-political history of Afghanistan and development of the armed forces.
The main samples of cold arms that existed on the territory of Afghanistan in the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries and used by the people of Afghanistan during the bloody conflicts for nearly two hundred years are considered in detail and consistently. The author researches ethnic military weapons as well as weapons of the regular army of Afghanistan during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The basis of the study are more than a thousand item of weapons from collections of museums and private collections. The main difficulty was that there are not collections exactly of Afghanistan weapons. There are only separate subjects which are often described wrongly. Besides this Afghanistan is a country that was not visited by specialized ethnographic expeditions until the end of the 19th century. There were no weapons collected specially. Afghanistan weapons appeared in Europe only as trophies of wars. In the 20th century there were no attention paid to the weapons of this region. As a result, so far there have been no articles and books devoted to the traditional weapons of Afghanistan.
Traditional weapons and weapons made in Afghanistan for the regular army are the main subject of the study, that is why European cold weapons and its numerous modifications that came across in the region are left out of the monograph. The book contains more than 550 pages and richly illustrated with lithographs, miniatures and photos of people in Afghanistan with weapons, as well as a lot of items of weapons published for the first time.
All types of weapons presented in the descriptions after the chapters of the monograph, by origin, can be divided into three groups. The first group of samples comes from Afghanistan and was exported from the country in the period from 1840 to 2015. The second group of samples is presented as the existence of similar material monuments and is confirmed by illustrative sources depicting the inhabitants of this country. The third group consists of items whose origin is not related to Afghanistan, but their almost complete counterparts from this region are known.