This book is the first full length political history of the Afghan Army, and as such is unparalleled in the range and depth of its analysis of this vitally important institution. Giustozzi locates the Army’s development within the wider context of state-building in Afghanistan. His volume includes a brief survey of the period to 1953, but focuses mainly on subsequent developments, over the last four decades, as the officer corps began to be politicised and later factionalised, especially during the Russian-backed regime of the Communist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), which ruled the country from 1978 to 1992. Despite the stress on the politics of praetorianism, the volume describes the Afghan Army’s performance on the battlefield in detail, highlighting the potential contradiction between military effectiveness and political loyalty to the ruling elite. The volume covers developments to the end of 2013 and is the result of extensive interviews conducted with both Afghan Army officers and their advisers and mentors.