Even though the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan is often viewed as their Vietnam, there are suprisingly few books on the subject. The books that do exist often derive from the experiences of a particular journalist or soldier. While such books are extremely valuable, they do not provide an overall treatment of the war and its relevance to the wider world.
Mark Galeotti provides a more historical and wider view of the war. He discusses the Soviet Union's involvement in the war and its effects on that country. He particularly addresses the argument that the war in Afghanistan was central to the fall of the Soviet Union. In pursuing this argument, a detailed and compelling analysis of the effects of the war upon the Soviet Union is provided.
The major problem with the book is that at times it feels spotty. Galeotti sometimes exhaustively focuses on issues that are tangential to his argument, such as the role of Afghan veterans in Soviet/Russian society, while providing only adequate amounts of detail on the actual war in Afghanistan. The overall history of military operations is covered very briefly. In particular, analysis of military effectiveness focuses almost entirely on tactics and does not attempt a detailed appraisal of flaws/strengths in Soviet strategy.
Nevertheless, this is a very strong book and certainly vital reading for understanding the importance of the Soviet war in Afghanistan.