The original Great Game (1800-1917), the clandestine struggle between Russia and Britain for mastery of Central Asia, has long been regarded as one of the greatest geopolitical conflicts in history. The prize, control of the vast Eurasian heartland, was believed by some to be the key to world domination. Teeming with improbable drama and exaggerated tensions, the conflict featured soldiers, mystics and spies. While the original Great Game ended with the Russian Revolution, the geopolitical wrangles for territory and power continued into the late 20the century - culminating in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. the authors' one-volume survey chronicles nearly two centuries of conflict.
Karl E. Meyer is a former London bureau chief for the WASHINGTON POST. His wife, Shareen Blair Brysac, is a prize-winning documentary-maker for CBS News.