The Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan 1842

‘It’s easier to go in than to come out.’ Someone might well have been remembering the British withdrawal in 1842 when delivering that advice to the Russians, the Americans or anyone else who has become embroiled in Afghanistan’s complex tribal system. The retreat from Kabul in 1842 was one of the greatest disasters suffered in the history of the British army but it could have been avoided. In this fascinating talk, laced with accounts of the lives of those who were there, best-selling author William Dalrymple tells the shocking story of Imperial Britain’s most humiliating defeat at the hands of poorly-equipped tribesmen who had responded to the call for jihad. This is a story that provides a powerful and important parable of colonial ambition and cultural collusion, folly and hubris, for our times.