Tournament of Shadows
The Great Game and Race for Empire in Central Asia
Karl E. Meyer & Shareen Blair Brysac
Counterpoint: Washington D.C., 1999
646 pp., $35 (cloth)
The Tournament of Shadows was the Russian name for the contest the British called the Great Game: the clandestine struggle among colonial empires for control of the central Asian heartland. It was played on a field that stretched from the Indian Himalayas to the trackless wastes of the Takla Makhan Desert and from the marches of Tibet to the shores of the Caspian Sea. Commencing in the early nineteenth century, its effects are still apparent today, in war-torn Afghanistan, in the newly independent Muslim states of central Asia, and in Chinese-occupied Tibet.