- Shortlisted for Central Eurasian Studies Society Book Award (awarded to the best book in history or the humanities published in 2015 or 2016)
- Selected as one of the Best Books of 2016 by The Guardian
Humanitarian Invasion is the first book of its kind: a ground-level inside account of what development and humanitarianism meant for a country touched by international aid like no other: Afghanistan. Relying on Soviet, Western, and NGO archives, interviews with Soviet advisers and NGO workers, and Afghan sources, Humanitarian Invasion forges a vivid account of the impact of development on a country at the heart of the Cold War.
The book argues that Afghanistan functioned as a laboratory for the future of the Third World nation-state. If, in the 1960s, Soviets, Americans, and Germans sought to make a territorial national economy for Afghanistan, then later, under military occupation, Soviet nation-builders, French and Swedish humanitarians, and Pakistani-supported guerrillas fought a transnational civil war over Afghan statehood. Covering the entire period from the Cold War to Taliban rule, Humanitarian Invasion seeks to make a major contribution to the writing of international and Cold War history. It appeared in January 2016 with the Global and International History Series of Cambridge University Press.
Praise for Humanitarian Invasion: Global Development in Cold War Afghanistan
“Beautifully written and the product of unique and prodigious research, Humanitarian Invasion enhances our understanding of the Soviet Union in the world, while poignantly chronicling the long-term collapse of the Afghan state. With this book, Timothy Nunan has made a critical contribution to our understanding of modern international history.”
Robert B. Rakove, Stanford University, author of Kennedy, Johnson, and the Nonaligned World
“This is a truly fascinating, impressively researched work. Its highly original perspective illuminates not only the modern history of Afghanistan, but also the wider history of geopolitically-driven development missions in what we used to call the “Third World”.”
Anatol Lieven, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, author of Chechnya: Tombstone of Russian Power and Pakistan: A Hard Country
“Humanitarian Invasion: Global Development in Cold War is a groundbreaking study of a little understood experience of modernity in what used to be called the third world.”
Pankaj Mishra, author of Age of Anger: A History of the Present and From The Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia
Reviews, Events, and Media Related to Humanitarian Invasion: Global Development in Cold War Afghanistan:
- “Fleeing and Flying,” Counterpoint with Amanda Vanstone (September 13, 2021)
- “The Graveyard of Empires, a Second Vietnam – Timothy Nunan on the Cliches of the War in Afghanistan,” Politics Theory Other Podcast (September 3, 2021)
- “Afghanistan: Graveyard of Development?” in Himāl Southasian (August 31, 2021)
- “Timothy Nunan: wir dürfen die Menschen in Afghanistan nicht alleine lassen,” Ö1 Europa Journal, Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF) (August 30, 2021)
- “The End of Nation-Building” in Noema (August 24, 2021)
- Interview with Mahima A. Jain, South Asia Centre of the London School of Economics (October 2017)
- Review in Central Asian Survey by Markus Göransson (June 5, 2017)
- “The Travails of Afghanistan: A Contemporary History,” by Jayant Prasad, The Wire (June 5, 2017)
- Review in Journal of Politics, Religion, and Ideology by Stephen Hopgood (May 18, 2017)
- Review in International Affairs by Avinash Paliwal (May 1, 2017)
- “Sovereignty Without Borders: Discussing Afghanistan’s Cold War History,” (Interview with Chloe Bordewich for Journal of the History of Ideas Blog) (April 24, 2017)
- Review in Global Histories: A Student Journal by Ryan Glauser (April 10, 2017)
- H-Diplo Roundtable (Introduction by Ryan Irwin; Reviews by David Ekbladh, Sheyda Jahanbani, Srinath Raghavan, and Jenny Leigh Smith, April 3, 2017)
- Review in American Historical Review by Abdulkader Sinno (March 30, 2017)
- Review in H-Soz-Kult by Philipp Casula (February 24, 2017)
- Podcast Interview with Cris Martin for “Eurasian Enigma” Podcast (Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University, October 7, 2016)
- “When Humanitarianism Became Imperialism” (Review in Jacobin by Gregory Afinogenov, September 17, 2016)
- “The Anti-Colonial Origins of Humanitarian Intervention,” Jadaliyya (September 15, 2016)
- “A Border Line Case,” (Herald, September 2016)
- Podcast with Sean’s Russia Blog (July 31, 2016)
- “The Afghan Story in the History of Indian Geopolitics,” The Wire (July 15, 2016)
- Piece on Humanitarian Invasion for “Peripheral Histories” Blog (July 5, 2016)
- “The Cold War History that Explains the Frontier’s Present,” Frontier Post (Peshawar, Pakistan) (July 3, 2016)
- Podcast with Christian Peterson (Ferris State University) for New Books Network (April 8, 2016).
- “Graveyard of Empires? Writing the Global History of Development in Afghanistan” (Short Synopsis of the Book), Imperial & Global Forum (March 15, 2016).
- Author Interview with Cambridge University Press (February 17, 2016).
- Video of Author Lecture at the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Archives, New York University, (February 16, 2016).