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THE BOYS’ BOOK CLUB WHAT WE’RE READING Books us blokes on the Ponsonby News team are reading, or have recently enjoyed. We LOVE reading in the bath, or in bed. A real stress buster!

JAY PLATT THE SACRED VAULT BY ANDY MCDERMOTT Published by Headline Publishing Group

MARTIN LEACH TALIBAN BY JAMES FERGUSSON Published by Bantam Press The front cover of ‘Prospect’ magazine a few months back had as its lead story, “Meet the Taliban: not as bad as you think” which made me shudder given their stoning of an adulterous couple in Kunduz Province earlier this year. Fifteen years ago, southern Afghanistan was in even greater chaos than it is now. The Russians, who had occupied the country throughout the 1980s, were long gone. The disparate ethnic and religious leaders who had united to eject the invaders - the famous mujaheddin - were at each others’ throats.

The whole word is in disbelief when historical art treasures are stolen but for what purpose. Eddie Chase ex SAS and Mercenary for hire turned good is once again drawn into an adventure that takes him to India. It’s another Treasure hunt this time for the Vault of Shiva that holds the legendary scrolls of the Hindu God of destruction. I love this kind of guns blazing cocky action archaeological romp with a bit of British humour thrown in. It’s a very enjoyable and easy read when you’re in the mood to lose yourself in a book. If you like this then look out for the other titles which are equally good to read.

For the rural poor of Kandahar province, life was almost impossible. On 12 October 1994 a small group of religious students decided to take matters into their own hands. Led by an illiterate village mullah with one eye, some 200 of them surrounded and took Spin Boldak, a trucking stop on the border with Pakistan. From this short and unremarkable border skirmish, a legend was born. The students’ numbers swelled as news of their triumph spread. The Taliban, as they now called themselves - taliban is the plural of talib, literally ‘one who seeks knowledge’ - had a simple mission statement: the disarmament of the population, and the establishment of a theocracy based on Sharia law. They fought with a religious zeal that the warring mujaheddin could not match. By February 1995, this people’s revolt had become a national movement; 18 months later Kabul fell, and the country was effectively theirs. James Fergusson’s fascinating account of this extraordinary story will be required reading for anyone who wishes to understand the situation in Afghanistan, now and for the future.

124 PONSONBY NEWS+ December 2010


DECEMBER/JANUARY '10/ '11 Ponsonby News  

Christmas issue - covering December and January - news/views and all that is happening in and around Ponsonby