Tournament of Shadows

The Great Game And the Race for Empire in Central Asia

by Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac

Available on:
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The contest between Britain and Tsarist Russia for dominion of Central Asia and Tibet that commenced in the early 1800's.

From the romantic conflicts of the Victorian Great Game to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, Tournament of Shadows traces the struggle for mastery of Central Asia from 1812 to the present. It restores to life a remarkable roster of characters--soldiers, adventurers, mystics, princely pretenders, explorers, proconsuls and spymasters, some famous, some obscure--in an unfolding, hard-to-put down narrative. Tournament of Shadows offers a fluent guide to the rich and complex history of Central Asia and Tibet. It is priority reading for anyone curious about, traveling to--or doing business with--a region that grows in importance every day for Russia, China, South Asia and the West.

  • A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
  • NY Times internet discussion selection for December 2001
  • Finalist for the international Gelber Prize for best book in the field of foreign affairs.
  • A selection of the History Book Club
  • Excerpts appeared in World Policy Journal, Military History Quarterly and Archaeology. Re-published with a new introduction by Basic Books in 2006

What is the Great Game?

Cast of characters