Master of Shadows: The Secret Diplomatic Career of the by Mark Lamster

By Mark Lamster

Even if his attractiveness is eclipsed through Rembrandt at the present time, Peter Paul Rubens was once respected through his contemporaries because the maximum painter of his period, if now not of all background. His indisputable creative genius, reinforced via a modest disposition and a name as a guy of tact and restraint, made him a favourite between monarchs and political leaders throughout Europe—and gave him the suitable conceal for the clandestine actions that formed the panorama of seventeenth-century politics.

In grasp of Shadows, Mark Lamster brilliantly recreates the tradition, non secular conflicts, and political intrigues of Rubens’s time, following the painter from Antwerp to London, Madrid, Paris, and Rome and offering an insightful exploration of Rubens’s paintings in addition to the non-public passions that stimulated it.

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Even if his recognition is eclipsed through Rembrandt this present day, Peter Paul Rubens was once respected by means of his contemporaries because the maximum painter of his period, if no longer of all historical past. His indisputable inventive genius, reinforced by means of a modest disposition and a name as a guy of tact and reticence, made him a favourite between monarchs and political leaders throughout Europe—and gave him definitely the right disguise for the clandestine actions that formed the panorama of seventeenth-century politics.

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Islam was no longer automatically regarded as an enemy of the state. Moscow and the KGB encouraged Karmal to take steps to try to win back some elements of popular support. However, resistance got stronger, not weaker. Afghans saw through the charade of occupation for what it was, and they knew that their country was now all but a Soviet client state. The Soviets occupied all the key cities and controlled the major highways; they had even murdered the sitting head of state of the country. From the first days of the Soviet occupation of Kabul, there were nightly protests and clashes with Soviet forces.

Assistance totaled less than a half-billion dollars; of that, only a little more than $25 million was military aid. 7-mile-long, 11,500-foot-high Salang Pass tunnel connecting Kabul to the northern part of the country, providing an all-weather road from the Soviet border to the capital. Russian aid built the air base at Bagram, north of Kabul. S. aid built roads connecting Afghanistan to Pakistan and Iran and a major air field at Kandahar. S. rivalry to get as much help as possible from both, but the Soviets had the inside track because they were geographically close to Afghanistan and they did not support Pakistan.

In the Panjsher Valley, the Russians and the local mujahedin commander, Ahmad Shah Massoud, agreed on a temporary cease-fire and truce. Moscow had hoped that the agreement would lead to a more permanent arrangement to take the valley out of the war, but it didn’t last, and the truce ended in early 1984. Another major Soviet offensive in the Panjsher followed in April 1984 and yet another in September. Rebel rocket attacks on Kabul became much more frequent in the summer of 1984, bringing the war to the capital.

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