Friday, August 3, 2012

Books on Pakistan

This is a selection of books on Pakistan:

Pakistan: A Hard Country by Anatol Lieven. In the wake of Pakistan's development of nuclear weapons, unpoliceable border areas, shelter of the Afghan Taliban and Bin Laden, and the spread of terrorist attacks by groups based in Pakistan to London, Bombay and New York, there is a clear need to look further than the simple image of a failed state so often portrayed in the media, and to see instead a country of immense complexity and importance. Lieven's profound and sophisticated analysis paves the way for clearer understanding of this remarkable and highly contradictory country.

Unraveling: Pakistan in the Age of Jihad by John R. Schmidt. The forms of Islam found in today's Pakistan are of course not the same as those of the country's leaders at its foundation in 1947. A senior US specialist explores the complexities of the ongoing interactions of Pakistan's leaders and power centres with jihadist groups and influences both inside and outside the country. Among the jihadi linkages with developments in Pakistan explored are: the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan; Jihad-India conflicts in Kashmir; bin Laden and the road to 1911; the Tribal Areas, 9/11 and the Pakistani Taliban; domestication, the Red Mosque in Islamabad and army failures; and the Mumbai terror of 2008. Future scenarios and pressures are discussed in the last two chapters. With sketch map, bibliography and index.

Pakistan: Deep inside the World's Most Frightening State by Mary Anne Weaver. No nation is more critical to US foreign policy than nuclear-armed Pakistan. Wedged between India and Afghanistan, it is the second largest country in the Islamic world. But with militant Islamists now expanding their control over some of the country's most strategically sensitive areas, there is a growing fear that Washington's most stolid ally in South Asia - at least ostensibly - is unravelling, and perhaps is even on the verge of collapse. With a dozen or so private Islamist armies, a hundred or so nuclear weapons, and a dysfunctional government, Pakistan is considered one of the most dangerous places on earth. Its disintegration would pose an unthinkable threat to the United States and the West, including the prospect of its nuclear arsenal being captured by religious extremists. In Pakistan, Mary Anne Weaver presents her personal journey through a country in turmoil, reconstructing, largely in the voices of the key participants themselves -General Pervez Musharraf, General Muhammed Zia, and the assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto - the legacies now haunting Pakistan in the aftermath of the US-sponsored jihad in the 1980s in Afghanistan.

Pakistan: Eye of the Storm by Owen Bennett Jones. First published in 2002, Bennett Jones's account of Pakistan's history provides wide-ranging insights into this critical modern state. This thoroughly revised and updated edition includes fresh material on the Taliban insurgency, the Musharraf years, the return and subsequent assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the unlikely election as president of Asif Ali Zardari. With notes, bibliography and index.

Routledge Handbook of South Asian Politics: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal edited by Paul R. Brass. The Routledge Handbook of South Asian Politics examines key issues in politics of the five independent states of the South Asian region: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Written by experts in their respective areas, this book introduces the reader to the politics of South Asia by presenting the prevailing agreements and disagreements in the literature. In the first two sections, the handbook provides a comprehensive introduction to the modern political history of the states of the region and an overview of the independence movements in the former colonial states. The other sections focus on the political changes that have occurred in the postcolonial states since independence, as well as the successive political changes in Nepal during the same period, and the structure and functioning of the main governmental and non-governmental institutions, including the structure of the state itself (unitary or federal), political parties, the judiciary, and the military. Further, the contributors explore several aspects of the political process and political and economic change, especially issues of pluralism and national integration, political economy, corruption and criminalisation of politics, radical and violent political movements, and the international politics of the region as a whole.

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