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1. India Pakistan Bangladesh: History,
2. The History of Pakistan (The Greenwood
3. A Brief History of Pakistan (Brief
4. A History of Pakistan and Its
5. Pakistan: At the Crosscurrent
6. Pakistan: Eye of the Storm
7. Pakistan: History and Politics
8. Pakistan: Eye of the Storm, 3rd
9. We've Learnt Nothing from History:
10. A History of the People of Pakistan:
11. The Great Partition: The Making
12. Pakistan: A Modern History
13. An Illustrated History of Pakistan:
14. A Concise History of Pakistan
15. Road to Pakistan: 712-1858 v.
16. History of Northern Areas of Pakistan:
17. India and Pakistan: The First
18. Life after Partition: Migration,
19. 1965 War: The Inside Story
20. A History of Sindh

1. India Pakistan Bangladesh: History, culture, people (Regional studies series)
by Milton Jay Belasco
 Unknown Binding: 186 Pages (1980)

Asin: B0006Y2PZ8
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2. The History of Pakistan (The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations)
by Iftikhar Malik
Hardcover: 260 Pages (2008-07-30)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$38.25
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Asin: 0313341370
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The History of Pakistan explores the rich and intricate past of a highly diverse nation still in the process of determining its own identity.Rooted in the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, shaped by the cultures of both the Middle and Far East, and now predominantly devoted to Islam, Pakistan has emerged as a unique Indo-Muslim community, viewed with caution and curiosity by the rest of the world.In this latest volume of Greenwood's History of Modern Nations series, readers discover the foundations of modern Pakistan, from its earliest empires and shared history with India to the coming of Islam and its successful fight for independence in 1947.This highly informative guide also examines the key issues and attitudes guiding Pakistan today: their volatile feud with India over the region of Kashmir and the right to nuclear development, internal debates over the role of Islam in Pakistani society, and the unbreakable dominance of the military in political affairs.Poised between a radically changing India and the politically unstable Middle East, Pakistan is an important nation to understand as it determines its course in rapidly a changing world.

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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A fine historical introduction for high school or college-level holdings
Joining others in the 'Greenwood Histories of Modern Nations' is a fine survey of Pakistan's evolution and development, from its early influence in Indo-Islamic culture to its establishment as a separate state. Included in the history are notes on political interactions within the region, influential individuals, and military confrontations. It's a fine historical introduction for high school or college-level holdings strong in regional country histories.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
... Read more

3. A Brief History of Pakistan (Brief History of...)
by James Wynbrandt
Paperback: 336 Pages (2008-12-30)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$13.23
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Asin: 0816061858
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4. A History of Pakistan and Its Origins (Anthem South Asian Studies)
Paperback: 352 Pages (2004-09-28)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$26.10
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Asin: 1843311496
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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A History of Pakistan and its Origins is a comprehensive, detailed and fully up-to-date study of one of the most diverse, volatile and strategically significant countries in the world today. Born in turmoil barely half a century ago, Pakistan seems to be in an interminable pursuit of its own identity and at the same time finds itself a pivotal player in world politics. Its short existence has witnessed much: four coups d'état; the rise of Islam as a power; tensions between ethnic, religious and separatist movements; the Kashmir conflict and the near-constant war footing with India. This text charts half a century of nation-building in Pakistan, while at the same time placing the country within the context of its relations with the outside world.
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Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Dense, Detailed, but Rewarding
Christophe Jaffrelot has compiled a very impressive and detailed account of the history and origins of Pakistan.Those seeking a rich source of academic information will be well-rewarded in reading this work.If you are not already experienced in the history of Pakistan, it might be easier to begin at Chapter 3 "A Fruitless Search for Democracy."It offers a more straight-forward chronological review of the political administrations of Pakistan.Jaffrelot's book reads at the upper college or graduate level, and is a sophisticated presentation of the historical forces that drove Pakistan towards partition, including the religious, political, and economic factors that have shaped the region and its long-standing confrontation with India.Although it is a dense, and packed with details -so by no means the easiest of reading experiences - it is rewarding in its comprehensive review of Pakistani history.

3-0 out of 5 stars Mixed Bag...
The book approaches Pakistan from a number of perspectives, segregated into different sections, just as Cohen's does.This strategy helps break down a very complex subject into realistic portions, as well as allow the reader to choose what angle -- e.g., foreign relations, military, political -- to concentrate on in any one time.HOWEVER, the book is either poorly written or poorly translated or both: at best, the writing is stilted and dense, and not fast-going; at worst, you might have to go back over a sentence or paragraph just to figure out what is trying to be said or if there is a point to the paragraph.Really, I don't expect poor writing style to be an issue in commercially published books, but this is an exception.This being said, it is a wealth of info if you are willing to slog through it.Go with Cohen's book first.

5-0 out of 5 stars A History of Pakistan and Its' Origins
This book is a window of enlightenment for any reader outlining the complexities of to uniting a number of ethnicities as one Islamic nation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Most comprehensive and objective book on Pakistan out today
Every since September 11th, countless books about Pakistan have been published, each scrutizing its history as nothing but a state bent on growing the seeds of Islamic fundamentalism. This book is a welcome contrast, and hats off to Jaffrelot, a Frenchman, and his team for doing an extensive amount of research about the initial foundations of the country, all of the political tumult, the events leading to Bangladeshi secession and the tense relationship with India, the role as a proxy during the Cold War, the constitutional straying from Jinnah's secular vision, and an invaluable lesson in ethnography and religion, described in much more detail than the average book on the country (for example, not only does it describe Sunnism and Shi'ism as being the two main branches of Islam practiced in the country, it delves into subsets and sub-subsets of each branch, so that the reader gets a much better understanding of the incredible religious diversity within the Pakistani Muslim community itself). The main compliment I have about this book is that it remains extremely academic and objective. Never is it written in an alarmist way, and it doesn't favor one political movement over another. It refrains from sugarcoating any misdeeds of the government, the army, or the population, yet at the same time, it doesn't resort to demonizing the nation, either. It just states how things are over there now, and how things were in the past. It is a much more fascinating and educational read (for Pakistanis and non-Pakistanis alike) than other "Beware Pakistan!" types written by so-called Western "experts" on the region who try to make the reader believe that the entire country is one big madrassah intent to destroying the United States (far from it), or "Pakistan - The Glorious" types written by heavily biased Pakistani writers who believe that every single thing wrong within the country is due to a "foreign hand." If you would like to get a good base knowledge about the dynamics of this country caught within an extremely tumultuous global political game, put this book at the top of the list. ... Read more

5. Pakistan: At the Crosscurrent of History (Beginner's Guides (Oneworld))
by Lawrence Ziring
Paperback: 400 Pages (2005-12-25)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$19.91
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Asin: 1851683941
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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In this comprehensive yet readable analysis, Lawrence Ziring tracks Pakistan's history from the pre-partition era to the post-9/11 world, providing a compelling portrait of a nation poised at the very crosscurrent of history. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Opinionated about some figures in Pakistan's history
I think the author is too opinionated about Zulfiqar A. Bhutto. For some reason he does not like the late Pakistani leader at all. Sure, as the writer he shares his views about him, but he portrays him in a negative light to the extent that it gets annoying after a while.

Apart from that, it is a very decent source for those who would like to learn about Pakistan's short but turbulant history.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read For All
I'm an American with a great curiosity for world history.I've read many historical accounts of many foreign countries and, by far, this book exceeds all others."Pakistan at the Crosscurrent of History" is an excellent account of Pakistan's history and how bordering territories have influenced or interfered with its progress.Lawrence Ziring provides a most unbiased account of Pakistan's leaders and its people, even describing how Pakistan's own leaders have abused their authority and deceived the Pakistani people.Those in power, who sought to do good for their country, faced challenges unlike any other leader in the world.Pakistan was almost unheard of in the world until after the events of 9/11.Now, the world has taken a great interest in learning more about this little country.To understand the current times in Pakistan, one must first understand its complicated history and complexity of its people.I would also recommend "Three Cups of Tea" which is co-authored by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.This is a true story about how an American mountain climber's fate lead him to unexpectedly cross paths with the people of a small, mountain village and how this meeting changed both Pakistani and American lives forever.

1-0 out of 5 stars Apologia for Pakistan
Ziring's tome is shorn of any objectivity with the author suffering from an acute case of "nativitis" stemming from his years in Pakistan. Even if one were to ignore his ludicrous caricatures of Nehru and other Indian leaders it is hard to put aside the biases in search of an objective narrative of Pakistan's tumultous political process. For instance, the author alleges that Nehru rejected peace overtures and a "joint defense pact" from Ayub Khan in 1958 that may have resulted in a comprehensive settelement of Kashmir amongst others. There is no evidence of what those proposals were and no explanation of why Pakistan and India ought to have a joint defense pact. The fact that the former has instigated four (three since '58) wars against India only highlights the absurdity of Ayub's offer of joint defense.

In another instance, the author offers an explanation for Pakistan's chronic instability by stating that the British never seriously "tutored their subjects in the art of responsible government". Obviously, that lacuna on the part of the British had a particular effect on Pakistan but not its larger eastern neighbor. And so on...

The book may well find favor among the Pakistani elite as it offers plenty of outs for the many maladiesthat afflict their nation andare now inflicted on the larger world. ... Read more

6. Pakistan: Eye of the Storm
by Mr. Owen Bennett Jones
Paperback: 384 Pages (2003-09-01)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$8.25
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Asin: 0300101473
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Pakistan-with its political instability, vociferous Islamic community, pressing economic and social problems, access to nuclear weapons, and proximity to Afghanistan-stands at the very center of global attention. Can General Musharraf, Pakistan's military ruler, control the forces that helped create the Taliban in Afghanistan? In this fascinating book, journalist Owen Bennett Jones looks at Pakistan's turbulent past, recounts its recent history, and assesses its future options. A new introduction brings the account fully up to date. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Country Study Plus
This well-told, interesting, robust summary of Pakistan's 55 year old history is more than just the usual "run-of-the-mill country study." The author has talked to real Pakistanis, sampled their opinions, and mapped the nation's temperament and volatility back into its own desires, hopes and fears. It is a rich and dense biography of a much-troubled ally and nation.

Strategically situated at the crossroads of some of the most important of international sensitivities, and beset with enough internal problems to place it at the very top of any objective list of the world's most unstable countries, Pakistan continues to muddle through, lurching from one deep-rooted crisis to another.

Now that it has become "the first Islamic nuclear power," all of the stakes have been raised immeasurably to a whole new level. As a U.S. ally in the war on terror, it is a sobering thought that like Israel, Saudi Arabia, and even Iraq, Pakistan too could conceivably turn from our number one ally into our number one enemy almost over night. It is just a roll of the dice that keeps this troubled nation afloat and upright for the moment.

It is this volatility and unpredictability that makes a deeper study of Pakistan essential for international relation watchers. Jones, a journalist who spent several years "on station" in Pakistan, brings a fresh but very "un-journalistic" approach to this national biography: It is not just another computer dump of a journalist log, but a well-told story, that unfolds chronologically and thematically; one that is linked to internal opinions as well as to the larger international picture.

This is a very impressive book. Five stars

4-0 out of 5 stars Lead, kindly light... most of the times.
Owen Bennet Jones was BBC's correspondent in Pakistan for three years till 2001.

His book is a wonderful way to understand Pakistan.It is not a typical chronological list of facts.It is a set of nicely grouped perspectives on the issues in Pakistan's politics:the power players - army, politicians, feudal lords; the public opinion issues - Kashmir, Bomb, Bangladesh, Muhajirs; and their impact on Pakistan so far.

The reader can pick any chapter and start with it.

It is difficult to write a book about Pakistan (or India) without leaving in the reader's mind a sense of disappointment at a biased perspective.Was partition the right thing to do?Different views may emerge based on who you ask.

It is even more difficult for a British author to keep a balanced perspective on the history of the sub-continent given the influence in his own ambience.Is Winston Churchill a wise statesman or an arrogant imperialist?Different views may emerge based on where you ask.

The author seems to have struck a fine balance between multiple views.

However, in a few instances, the author disappoints:

Pakistan does feel insecure about India's intentions.The religious divide is a thin argument since India has more Muslims than Pakistan; and they are not raring to quit India.The divide stems from a public opinion that got shaped by the shameful violence during partition; that got nurtured after the partition by the army and politicians in Pakistan as a pet hate agenda for self serving reasons.Today, no politician or general in Pakistan can take a softer friendly stand towards India and survive in Pakistan.This is true to a lesser extent for politicians in India too.Feeding a public opinon for political convenience and in turn being fed by it is the vicious cycle that Pakistan has gotten into.The author misses this point and suggests that Pakistan's insecurity stems from India responding to Pakistan's invasion in 1965 by crossing the border and coming to occupy Lahore; and from India's role in liberation of Bangaldesh.This world-view befits a public relations spin master and not a political journalist.

Pakistan's view is that Mujahideens causing mass deaths in Kashmir are "freedom fighters" and not "terrorists". This view suffers from several fallacies:
(a) Pakistan's claim as homeland to the sub continent's Muslims is not valid any more.Not after 180 million in East Pakistan walked away.Not after 200 million Muslims have stayed back in India and have played a big role in India's growth.
Pakistan has lesser Muslims, 150 million, today than either India or Bangladesh.
(b) The Mujahideen are trained and equipped by the State of Pakistan.This is low intensity proxy war.Not freedom fighting.Not terrorism.
(c) The Mujaihideen are not citizens of Kashmir.They are "outsiders" coming in for a shared religion. They sincerely believe they are fighting for the noble cause of their religion.They believe religion prevails over the State.This view raises challenges to several States.In the end this may prove to be a bigger challenge to Islamic States than other States.
The author's sympathetic description of the events in Kashmir as "tribesmen crossing the border to fight for their muslim brethren" reflects one view reasonably well; but ignores an opposite view that may have a greater dosage of wisdom.

Pakistan's army, in the words of Benazir Bhutto, has a better track record in fighting its own citizens than fighting other armies.The army's response to this potential for doubt is made up of:(a) a signature tactic of proxy war - in defeat there is a cover of deniability; and in success there is glory and (b) lack of transparency on events during the war and a "spin" that could obfuscate truth. The author is willing to be a facilitator. Did Pakistan's army lose its positions in Kargil?Or, did they walk out because Nawaz Sharif ceded to pressure from the US?The author says that Indians claim Pakistan army was dislodged in 80% of the positions before Sharif met Clinton; but "neutral" observers, relying on Pakistan sources, believe that India had dislodged Pakistan in just 12 of the 132 positions implying that the army won it and politicians lost it.Neutral observers relying on Pakistan sources?There are better neutral analyses like Arthur J Tellis' book "Limited Conflicts Under the Nuclear Umbrella".

The author parrots a view he heard in Pakistan army:that Pakistan army uses tribesmen in its engagement with India because the Indian army is more afraid of the tribesmen than Pakistan's regular army.Steve Coll in "Ghost wars" has a different story.Officers in Pakistan army preferred to get posted to the Western front than the Eastern front where they need to meet the tough professional army from India.

Aside from these minor biases, the author has done a very good job in portraying Pakistan's history and the issues this young nation faces.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Absorbing, Readable, but Forgettable Book
I bought this book some three years ago and took it on a trip, finishing it over six days. The book is written very well, and journalist in Owen Bennet Jones certainly needs to be commended.

Jones starts the book with President Musharraf, and moves back to the 1999 coup which installed him. He then picks up some of the key issues which drive Pakistan's foreign policy: Kashmir, The Bomb, The Army, among others. His writing syle is such that you immediately fall in with him and start thinking alongside. This makes the book an easy read. His style leans more towards description than analysis. Though the analysis is there, it is more journalistic than professorial (such as Stephen Cohen's: The Idea of Pakistan). There are also some good illustrations and cartoons.

However, he also leaves out important aspects of Pakistan (this is perhaps justified considering the title of the book). For instance, the entire book is written from the perspective of an outsider or a diplomat who would like to deal the Pakistan state. There is little analysis of Pakistan's domestic policies or problems, except to the extent that these influence its foreign policies. There is little information on Pakistan's economy or social institutions. Relatively little space has been given to Islam, which is strange considering that many of Pakistan's policies are supposed to be derived from the religious nature of the State. This is unfortunate because Pakistan's future may be determined largely by how it interfaces with Islam and how its economy shapes up.

And there are very few insights. What drives Pakistan, what holds it toegether, what may make it fail, these are all dealt with from a foreign policy perspective, but in an analytical style. Though Jones does make some very good connections between events and identifies patterns, the insights are simply not there. Perhaps one has to turn to an Asian mind such as V. S. Naipaul for that. However, Naipaul is somewhat hostile to the subject, and therefore may merely end up reinforcing some stereotypes.

All in all, an enjoyable book, but one that you may not be able to hold for long in your mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars An amazing insight into Pakistani politics
This book is without a doubt the best ever book one can find on Pakistani politics. It covers every aspect in detail from the 1999 Coup, the Kashmir Crisis-Kargil, Democracy in Pakistan as well as other internal issues.

The author obviously through his decade long experience has got a great deal of insight knowledge from his experiences for reporting for the BBC for which he made the wise choice for publishing his thoughts in this book.

If you're a student or even a curious reader liking books on Asian or especially Pakistani related politics, then look no further than this book as it is the best one out there. I read it all in 3 days and still do repeatedly as I've used it for reference for many university related projects.

5-0 out of 5 stars College-level readers will find it involving
Pakistan's turbulent history and military rule is treated to a scholarly and in-depth analysis which describes many of the problems of modern Pakistan with an eye to probing their historical roots. Jones assesses regional conflict and influence within the country and provides an important, scholarly assessment of Pakistan's underlying foundations. College-level readers will find it involving. ... Read more

7. Pakistan: History and Politics 1947-1971
by M. Rafique Afzal
Hardcover: 506 Pages (2001-12-20)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$34.85
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Asin: 0195796349
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This is a comprehensive account of the history and politics of Pakistan until the establishment of Bangladesh. It encompasses with depth and precision all of the developments in politics, economics, and foreign relations that help to understand the historical process. ... Read more

8. Pakistan: Eye of the Storm, 3rd edition
by Mr. Owen Bennett Jones
Paperback: 408 Pages (2009-11-10)
list price: US$19.00 -- used & new: US$10.50
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Asin: 0300154755
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This thoroughly revised and updated edition of Bennett Jones’ market-leading account of this critical modern state 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.


Praise for the first edition


“The world has a stake in what happens in Pakistan. How great a stake, this book makes compellingly clear.”—Robert M. Hathaway, Wilson Quarterly

“[A] lucid and sobering examination. . . . Owen Bennett Jones has delivered a well-crafted, clear, balanced and often quite lively account that should be immensely useful.”—Thomas W. Lippman, Washington Post Book World


Owen Bennett Jones was BBC correspondent in Pakistan and is now correspondent in Asia for the BBC World Service. He has written for the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Independent, the London Review of Books, and Prospect magazine.

... Read more

9. We've Learnt Nothing from History: Pakistan: Politics and Military Power
by M. Ashgar Khan
Hardcover: 324 Pages (2006-06-15)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$30.57
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Asin: 0195978838
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This book examines the early entry of Pakistan's armed forces into the country's politics and the struggle for the restoration of democracy since 1968. It deals in some detail with the rule of General Yahya Khan and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto during the 1970's, the General Ziaul Haq during the 1980's. The author also reviews the events that led to the re-entry of the armed forces into politics in 1999, after a short and turbulent period of 'demomcracy', and provides some insights into possible political developments in Pakistan in the future. ... Read more

10. A History of the People of Pakistan: Toward Independence
by Jane Hussain
Paperback: 480 Pages (2002-07-25)
list price: US$14.24 -- used & new: US$20.41
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Asin: 0195792203
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This work recounts the history of the Pakistan area from the perspective of present day Pakistan. It positions the land of the Indus centrally, thereby emphasizing its crucial and continuous role in developing civilisations which grew and spread in all directions of the subcontinent. ... Read more

11. The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan
by Yasmin Khan
Paperback: 272 Pages (2008-11-05)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$9.90
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Asin: 0300143338
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The Partition of India in 1947 promised its people both political and religious freedom—through the liberation of India from British rule, and the creation of the Muslim state of Pakistan. Instead, the geographical divide brought displacement and death, and it benefited the few at the expense of the very many. Thousands of women were raped, at least one million people were killed, and ten to fifteen million were forced to leave their homes as refugees. One of the first events of decolonization in the twentieth century, Partition was also one of the most bloody.


In this book Yasmin Khan examines the context, execution, and aftermath of Partition, weaving together local politics and ordinary lives with the larger political forces at play. She exposes the widespread obliviousness to what Partition would entail in practice and how it would affect the populace. Drawing together fresh information from an array of sources, Khan underscores the catastrophic human cost and shows why the repercussions of Partition resound even now, some sixty years later. The book is an intelligent and timely analysis of Partition, the haste and recklessness with which it was completed, and the damaging legacy left in its wake.

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Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Must read on one of humanity's worst excesses
The Partition of India is a much studied though least discussed topic. Let me qualify what I mean by that seeming contradiction of terms. Many academics have studied the cause for the Partition and its horrendous aftermaths, but that's it. It has become an academic exercise that has lacked thorough discussion by the very people that it wreaked havoc on. India sees the Partition through her own prism as does Pakistan. Both appear to be entrenched in the view that the other side caused it and our side suffered massively for it. As a result, students in India read the Indian version of the very same truth that is regurgitated in a much different form to Pakistani students. The truth becomes a casualty by the politics of each state.
Today's world knows more about the Jewish plight in Europe and the after-effects of the atomic bombs in Japan than it does about the Partition --- an event that displaced 18 million people, killed 3 million, and scarred many million more. The Indian and Pakistani states are simply not interested in preserving the memories --- as horrid as they are --- for future generations. The trains full of dead bodies arriving in empty stations; countless women abducted, left behind, or bartered for passage from one country to another; religions adopted or discarded at the whim of unruly mobs; riches lost and families torn apart. All these are the realities of the Partition that will go mostly unrecorded except for an academic mention. I am simply amazed by the single mindedness of the Israeli government to keep the memory of the Holocaust fresh in contemporary print and media (movies, etc.) just as I am amazed by the Indian and Pakistani state to interpret the Partition to suit the political need of the hour.
There are many reasons why the Partition occurred. The British wanted to accelerate their withdrawal from India, having just finished World War II with depleted coffers. They did not have the treasury nor the will to continue their dominion. Europe was licking its wounds from World War II as well and was not interested in the cleaving of a nation far from its borders. The Muslim League wanted a separate state for Muslims but had no idea what it would mean to divide the nation based on religious lines and to rule a new nation founded on religious principles -- who protects the minorities? The Congress had its hand full trying to consolidate a new nation from the former princely states.
It is debatable whether the Partition could have been avoided. Was it for the British simply a matter of drawing a random line and dividing Punjab and present day Bangladesh as they did? Did they anticipate the mass exodus from each country to the other of the affected people? Did Jinnah anticipate this? Did Nehru? The book makes a point that the refugee crisis careened out of control because the world was not prepared to handle such a mass exodus. Red Cross did not exist in 1947 and the newly formed United Nations did not have the accouterments like UNHCR to deal with the refugee crisis. Whatever the causes and effects, the Partition ranks alongside the Holocaust and the use of atomic weapons as a testament to humanity's worst. Except that unlike the Holocaust and atomic bombs, most of the world is ignorant of the horrors of the Partition.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best book on this subject accessible to the general reader
I was born and brought up in India and I have a keen interest in South Asian history. Out of the 15 or so books on partition that I read (sometimes just skimmed through!), this book is undoubtedly the best. (Patrick French's book 'Liberty or Death' is also VERY good, but it covers lot of other issues- not just Partition and is quite long!).
If you have an appreciation for good English writing, this book will be a pleasure to read- but don't expect something that panders to popular stereotypes about India/South Asia or interesting anecdotes about eccentric Indian kings or leaders- this is a serious work of scholarship suitable only for the deeply interested casual reader. The author appears to be a first rate scholar who has a very impressive command over the subject matter- she sometimes manages to convey more in a couple of paragraphs than some other historians will do in entire chapters.I needed all my prior knowledge of Indian history to begin to understand how good this book really is! In the interest of brevity, I will mention only two major strengths of this book relative to other general accounts of the Partition of India.

1.This is history from the bottom up- instead of focusing on the discussions between leaders of the Indian National Congress, Muslim League and high ranking British officials leading up to the partition, the author concentrates on how the politics related to the partition played out on the streets of India- the fears, insecurities and expectations of the common people and how politicians sought to engage them. The majority of studies on Partition concentrate only on the 'elite politics' aspect- what Nehru, Jinnah or Mountbatten did or didn't do or say etc.Not that this is not important - but to really understand the positions taken by Nehru/Jinnah/Gandhi/Mountbatten and others- it is not enough to understand their personalities and their relationships- we also have to understand the broader social/political environment in which these positions were formed. The political decisions and actions of the major players cannot be understood in isolation- they become much more intelligible if you have a better understanding of the popular expectations, pressures and fears to which these leaders were compelled to respond.(This is probably particularly true of the Partition which became a highly emotive issue for many Hindus and Muslims/Sikhs during those times). In Yasmin Khan's book - this broader context, the evolving political situation in India in the late 1930's and early to mid 1940's is discussed with a richness and detail that is not equaled by any other book that I have read or heard about on the Partition of India- and this is a particular merit of this book.

2.Both Hindu and Muslim nationalists (who have a particular stake in distorting the history of partition for their own purposes) will find a lot to be angry about in this book- and this is a very good thing!I think this is a highly judicious account which is not biased towards the official Indian or Pakistani version of the history of partition (although- of course, many will disagree- which again is unsurprising!).

Overall, this is a relatively brief and exceedingly well written general history of the partition. (The overall tone of the writing is analytical
- but there is little unnecessary academic jargon and it is not very dry either).

1-0 out of 5 stars Uninformative and biased book
After Reading Narendra Singh Sarila's fantastic account of the partition in "In the Shadow of the Great Game", which gives a great many details on the main Indian and British figures that played a role in the partition, and their respective motivations.
This book barely scratches the surface of the real complexity, and seems to be another attempt by british intellectuals to spin the parittion in a convenient manner.

4-0 out of 5 stars Commendable, succinct history
While many books demonize India or Pakistan in the blame game of partition, Yasmin Khan indicates there was a shared breakdown of Hindu and Muslim trust leading up to the event.This was exacerbated by the clumsy imposition of premature partition upon India and Pakistan by the British government.Without making clear what partition meant or how it would be implemented, fears were greatly magnified, leading to some of the worst civil violence in India-Pakistan history; a virtual state of ethnic cleansing existed, perpetrated by extremists on both sides in 1947.So there is plenty of blame to be passed around.Khan's book seems to do historical justice to the even without detectable Hindu or Muslim bias.His history is vividly descriptive, but sometimes shies away from the political details and power plays one might have wished he had explored further.Nonetheless I found it to be a succinct, commendable book on the event of India's partition.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent context on partition
Most histories of the Indian Partition focus on the leadership but this one actually provides the social, economic and human context of the event.Khan is very balanced in her analysis identifying the forces that were building in the run-up to the Partition.The tragic consequences of these forces were were inevitable but they were ignored by native and colonial leaders due to either their incompetence or their indulgence.While lots of evil was committed by both sides, the book illustrates the uncertain context in which such evil was predictable, even if not justifiable. ... Read more

12. Pakistan: A Modern History
by Ian Talbot
Paperback: 436 Pages (1999-07-02)

Isbn: 1850653852
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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This study offers a detailed analysis of the problems which have beset Pakistan's nation-building enterprise since its birth in 1947. It explores why authoritarianism has prevailed over attempts to establish democracy and how foundational flaws and socio-political obstacles continue to obstruct the path to representative politics and national integration. In his close reading of government strategies from 1947 to the present, Ian Talbot explores the "second partition" of 1971 (the establishment of Bangladesh), the intricacies Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's fall from power, the Islamic dictatorship of General Zia ul-Haq and the collapse of Benazir Bhutto's two governments, underlining their implications for the country's future and pointing to the key issues which need to be addressed if stability is to be achieved. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Modern View about Pakistan
It's a modern view about Pakistan and about its history, it's important to understand the history and the current situation of this country that it has to decide what position and role wants play in the world scenery.
Moreover it was been the important tool to know the Pakistan's History, because in my country (Italy) it's imposible find something like this.

3-0 out of 5 stars Some additional information for a good book.
I have read this book, always optimistic in the hope that I will come across even better accounts on this much misunderstood subject, but sadly that is a wish that remains unfulfilled after many long years. Ian Talbot has meticulously documented and provided scholastic information that will otherwise be useful and handy for students and interested readers alike, but I--for one--would like to add through this review, a synopsis of what I feel he has left out. This concerns the crux of what needs to be sorely known about Pakistan's basic realities.

Pakistan is definitely in many ways a historical "stepchild" of India, whose creation is owed to some complex situations evolved in India due to extensive invasions from its Northwestern side, and the arrival of Islam here through those invasions. Unlike other "standard" nation states of the modern era, however, Pakistan is enveloped in an aura of artificiality. This is not simply because of the fact that it was carved "artificially" out of India on the demand of one man for apparently fudgy reasons; but
this artificiality is more apparent in the fact that when its 54 year history is studied, Pakistan is seen as a state which seems to exist primarily in order to fulfill the predatory aims of its ruling elite classes, unlike most other countries in the world. (This elite has been rated as among the most rapacious by the world's premier anti-corruption think-tanks and watchdog bodies). The prime reason of this elite's existence and rule of the Pakistani state all along has been corruption and misappropriation of wealth for their own enjoyment. It was for this reason that they lost East Pakistan, which became Bangladesh in 1971 after a landmark struggle. Then, they have literally been using Afghanistan as an unofficial "backyard" of theirs since 1992, after it had endured 14 years of ravages due to the Soviet intervention there and prolonged civil war. And they have been fuelling the fires of war and terrorism in neighbouring Kashmir since 1989 especially--and have "adopted" it as their "cause"--not out of any conviction about Kashmiri independence, but to focus attention there and to have something "to live for" in order to keep their topsy-turvy and unnatural system alive and going. In other words, they thrive not on a fair social base or development, but on mischief and destruction. This speaks volumes for their true nature, to the incisive analyst.

In all of this, and in fact for their lifeblood and their existence, this elite of bandit rulers has been parasitically dependent wholly and solely on the largesse and aid of America and Western Europe--which was fuelled by the formers' own greedy and myopic motives. In the '80s and '90s of the past century, this elite acted shamelessly as the willing sycophants and henchmen for America's dirty games against the USSR and progressive governments in the region. Now when that Islamic terrorism and atmosphere of corruption sponsored here by the US and its allies have finally begun to backfire on them, the "poor" Pakistani ruling classes are out in the dark cold night, between the devil and the deep blue sea. They deserve it, for the nature of their character and what they have done. I would like to remind Mr. Talbot that no authoritative history of Pakistan would otherwise be complete without an unfazed judgement on its ruling elites. They are a blot on the face of the earth.

Another valuable differentiation which I feel that Talbot has not pointed out with the analysis needed, is that from among the four main nationalities which constitute Pakistan, the Pathans (Pukhtuns) are the most offensive. In fact, their cultural mores proudly "sanctify" criminal practices and lawless attitudes, by backing them with the sanction of custom and tradition. The Punjabi nationality are in the majority, but the copying of Pathan behaviour is regarded by them as a matter of prestige.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
South Asian histiography is beset by three main problems: firstly, it is highly partisan especially books that purport to cover formation of Pakistan and partition of British India.Secondly, these histories tend to concentrate on works of the good and great, or they are based on rather mechanistic structuaral accounts.Thirdly, far too often they are indebted to out-moded epistemologies.It is to his great credit that Ian Talbots overcomes these three problems and produces what is currently the best history of Pakistan availible.He points out that the creation of Pakistan has to take account the scale of popular support that the idea of Pakistan enjoyed among Muslims- something most critics of the creation of Pakistan neglect in their effort to maintain that Pakistan only came to being because of the vanity of handful of individuals.Talbot's account is through and rigourous.Anyone, interested in the history of Pakistan could do no better than read this book.

1-0 out of 5 stars Heavily Referenced Text
The book is heavily referenced and is not easy to read. ... Read more

13. An Illustrated History of Pakistan: v.3 (Vol 3)
by Jane Hussain
 Paperback: 192 Pages (1998-10-01)

Isbn: 0195772997
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What happened during the last century between the extinction of Mughal rule and the British conquest of the Pakistan area? Volume III, the last book of the Illustrated History of Pakistan series, shows how a nation was forged as the people of this region struggled to throw off British yoke and win a Muslim homeland. This book is intended for a-level and graduate level students; the general reader interested in South Asian history. ... Read more

14. A Concise History of Pakistan
by Muhammad Reza Kazimi
 Hardcover: 406 Pages (2008-06)
list price: US$22.09 -- used & new: US$15.99
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Asin: 0195475062
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This is a comprehensive one-volume history of Pakistan, a country that lies at the centre of the worlds strategic concerns. Being published as Pakistan completes its sixtieth year as a nation state the book covers contemporary crises in the perspective of the subcontinents ancient and medieval history to explain how Muslim nationalism emerged and how the community interacted with the other communities in the region. Covering the centuries from Mehergarh to Musharraf, the author breaches the confines of political history to depict the intellectual, economic, diplomatic, and cultural history of Pakistan. Topics that have become the subject of controversy such as the 1971 Poland Resolution and the 1972 Simla Agreement are highlighted in boxes. The book is thematically addressed, but it provides underpinning by interspersing personality profiles of the individuals who shaped the course of events over the centuries. This gallery includes Amir Khusro as the embodiment of a distinctive Indo-Muslim culture; Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru, whose lofty ideals nevertheless resulted in Partition; M.A.Jinnah, who is credited with almost single-handedly creating the state of Pakistan; and the volatile but tragic figure of Z.A. Bhutto. In covering economic history, the author has also treated unorthodox subjects such as the rise and fall of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International and the Kalabagh Dam controversy. In diplomatic history the author presents little known material on the 1971 War and in intellectual history he examines the circumstances that caused piety to develop into terror. Replete with striking interpretations based on neglected but authentic sources, this book breaks fresh ground. ... Read more

15. Road to Pakistan: 712-1858 v. 1: A Comprehensive History (Pakistan Historical Society publication)
 Paperback: 665 Pages (1990-12)

Isbn: 969412140X
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16. History of Northern Areas of Pakistan: Upto 2000 A.D.
by Ahmad Hasan Dani
 Hardcover: 63 Pages (2001-01)

Isbn: 9693512316
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17. India and Pakistan: The First Fifty Years (Woodrow Wilson Center Press)
Paperback: 230 Pages (1998-12-28)
list price: US$28.99 -- used & new: US$6.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521645859
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One fifth of the world's people live in India and Pakistan. Looking back on their first fifty years of independence, leading specialists on South Asia assess their progress and problems, their foreign and defense policies and their relations with the United States. The three coeditors, who compare the achievements of India and Pakistan in a perceptive introductory overview, combine journalistic, diplomatic and academic experience. Selig S. Harrison served as South Asia Bureau Chief of the Washington Post, Paul H. Kreisberg is a former Deputy Chairman of the State Department's Policy Planning Council, and Dennis Kux is a former Director of the India Desk in the State Department. ... Read more

18. Life after Partition: Migration, Community and Strife in Sindh: 1947 - 1962
by Sarah Ansari
Hardcover: 256 Pages (2005-05-26)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$19.99
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Asin: 019597834X
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By the 1990s, ethnic politics had come to dominate Sindh, with calls for Karachi to become a fifth province in its right. Life After Partition examines the historical background to these developments by focusing on events in the province in the years immediately following partition, when migrants from India and local people in Sindh found themselves living alongside each other in the newly created state of Pakistan. How far they retained distinctive notions of community and identity, and what its impact was on processes of accommodation and integration forms the main focus of this study of life in Sindh between 1947 and 1962. ... Read more

19. 1965 War: The Inside Story
by R.D. Pradhan
Hardcover: 160 Pages (2007-06-20)
list price: US$27.50 -- used & new: US$22.13
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Asin: 8126907622
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1965 War was the first all-out clash between the two nationsIndia and Pakistan, after the Partition in 1947. Y.B. Chavan, Indias former Defence Minister, recorded in his own hand the 22-day war. The inside story reveals:Utter failure of intelligence on timing of Pak attack.How and why Chavan ordered IAF to launch attack without even informing the PM.Why India attacked across the international border? Reasons as per Chavan recording, If we failand I cannot even imagine of itthe Nation fails.How a Division Commander bolted from the theatre of operation. How the Army Commander sacrificed over 300 men for the Greater Glory of his Regiment. Why the Indian Army did not march into Lahore.Occasions when the Army Chief almost lost his nerve.How the Defence Minister, the Army and Air chiefs worked as team.How PM kept his cool and emerged as a great leader in War.Was it a Futile War? Did India lose in Tashkent what was won on battle-fields.Finally, how the political leadership re-established its proper relationship with the defence forces leadership and wiped out bitter memories of the 1962 India-China War. The book is a tribute to the IAF that was deployed in war for the first time after the Independence. Also to Indias armoured Regiments that fought valiantly and destroyed myth of superiority of the Pattons. ... Read more

20. A History of Sindh
by Suhail Zaheer Lari
 Paperback: 246 Pages (1996-08-01)
list price: US$16.95
Isbn: 0195776666
Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars
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A one-volume history of Sindh from the earliest times to Partition. The text is intended for scholars and students of Indo-Pakistan history. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

1-0 out of 5 stars Rewriting History
Clever piece of writing by an "intellectual courtesan."Particularly interesting is the account of events preceding creation of Pakistan.Where important facts have been omitted, even favorable rumors of the time have been highlighted as probable facts.Typical of distorted histories published in Pakistan.Author's contempt for native Sindhis is hard to miss. ... Read more

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