Passing It On: Fighting the Pushtun on Afghanistan’s Frontiers (General Sir Andrew Skeen. Les Grau and Robert Baer)

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This is a reproduction of a 1932 book published by General Skeen, who began fighting the Pushtun in 1897. His military career took him to fighting Boxers in China, the “Mad Mullah” in Somaliland and Germans on the Western Front of World War I. He always returned to British India where fighting the fractious Pushtun continued to be a problem. He was a brigade commander during the Third-Anglo-Afghan War, commanded the Kohat-Kurran field force and fought in the Waziristan campaign. He commanded the Northwest Frontier District and in 1924-1928, served as the Chief of Staff of the Indian Army. He knew the Pushtun and frontier fighting better than almost any other British officer. He wrote this book as a guide for company-grade officers fighting the Pushtun. Les Grau had read General Skeen’s book during the Soviet-Afghan War and, after the United States invaded Afghanistan, decided that this would be a welcome addition to the field libraries of allied commanders who were fighting the Taliban-who are ethnic Pashtun. Les and Bob Baer added copious footnotes to General Skeen’s work to explain the “Britishisms” and terms and concepts. They also wrote an introduction to explain the history, context, geography and application of Skeen’s classic work.