The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk

I have read The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk.

The Great Game refers to the geopolitical power struggle between Great Britain and Russia in Central Asia (with Afghanistan as the focal point) during the 1800s.

This Anglo-Russian rivalry began with the defeat of Napoleon (their common enemy) and ended in the early 1900s with the emergence of two glorious nations; Germany and Japan.

What were the motivating factors for interference and struggle for control of Central Asia?

For Russia 🇷🇺
– Revenge after centuries of aggression from the peoples of the steppes. Russia was occupied by the Mongol Golden Horde for a long time.
– Conquest to stop slave raiders (similar to what the French did in North Africa).
Russians were routinely enslaved by the khans of Central Asia.

For the British 🇬🇧
– Keeping India safe. Using Afghanistan and other tribes and nations as a buffer against Russian expansion. The British authorities in India feared a Russian invasion of their imperial crown jewel.

For both 🇷🇺🇬🇧
– Imperial prestige.
– Access to new markets for their products.
– Spreading Christian civilisation, which got even moreover important after reports of Central Asian lack of morals reached London and St. Petersburg.

For explorers, adventurers and military men ⚔️
– Glory, fame and riches.
– Military promotion and awards, from Royal Geographic Society in the British case to give an example.

An interesting book for sure. At 524 pages it might be a bit long unless you are interested in the topic, if you are, I can definitely recommend it. If not, there are plenty of other good books to read.