9780374228941 / 0374228949

Pakistan: In the Shadow of Jihad and Afghanistan


Publisher:Farrar, Straus and Giroux



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About the book:

An eyewitness account by an acclaimed New Yorker reporter

Wedged between India and Afghanistan, Pakistan is the second-largest nation in the Islamic world, and is situated in what is currently one of the most volatile regions on earth. It has assumed a commanding role in militant Islam, a frightening portent being its creation of Afghanistan's bizarre fundamentalist student militia, the Taliban; and with some fifteen private Islamist armies and at least twenty nuclear weapons, it is considered to be one of the most terrifying places in the world. Its disintegration would pose an unthinkable threat to the United States and the West, and the man who will determine Pakistan's future course is the little-known, enigmatic General Pervez Musharraf.

Mary Anne Weaver presents her personal journey through a country in turmoil, reconstructing, largely in the voices of the key participants themselves--Generals Musharraf and Zia, and Benazir Bhutto--the legacies now haunting Pakistan in the aftermath of the U.S.-sponsored jihad of the 1980s in Afghanistan. Fusing geopolitical choices with a vivid portrait of a land--of its people, its mystery, and its clans--Pakistan: In the Shadow of Jihad and Afghanistan, provides an essential background for those seeking to understand the problems the international community now faces, and poses some deeply disturbing questions about the future of conflict in South Asia.
Mary Anne Weaver, a foreign correspondent for The New Yorker, is also the author of A Portrait of Egypt: A Journey Through the World of Militant Islam. An Alicia Patterson Fellow for 2001, she and her husband divide their time between New York City and Santa Monica.
Few nations are more critical to United States foreign policy than Pakistan. Wedged between India and Afghanistan, it is the second-largest country in the Islamic world, and is situated in one of the world's most volatile regions. It has also assumed a commanding role in militant Islama frightening portent being its embrace of Afghanistan's bizarre fundamentalist student militia, the Taliban. With a dozen or so private Islamist armies and some thirty to fifty nuclear weapons, its disintegration would pose an unthinkable threat to the United States and the 'West, but the man who will determine Pakistan's future course is the little-known and enigmatic General Pervez Musharraf.

In Pakistan: In the Shadow of Jihad and Afghanistan, Mary Anne Weaver elucidates a country in turmoil through two decades of eyewitness reporting and unparalleled access to Pakistan's presidents, prime ministers, generals, and politicians. Here are rare and revealing portraits of General Musharraf, who rose through the ranks to become Benazir Bhutto's Chief of Military Operations and then assumed control in a historic military coup; of General Zia, who launched Pakistan on its present militant Islamist course while at the same time transforming it into the hub of U.S. policy on the Indian subcontinent; and of Benazir Bhutto herselfcharismatic, imperious, conflicted, commanding, and the first woman prime minister of an Islamic country.

Weaver provides an essential background for those seeking to understand Pakistan and the problems confronting the international community, and poses some deeply disturbing questions about the future of conflict in South Asia. Pakistan: In the Shadow of Jihad and Afghanistan stands as a testament to an enormously complex nation.
"Clear-eyed reporting and graceful prose in a highly readableand soberingwork of political geography for policymakers and anyone concerned by the risks of an uncertain future . . . Weaver talks to fundamentalists and secularists alike, exploring the rifts that obtain among progressives and those who have nearly succeeded in turning Pakistan into a theocracy along the lines of Iran or Taliban-era Afghanistan, stymied only by a military dictatorship as corrupt as any in the world."Kirkus Reviews
"A reporter for The New Yorker, Ms. Weaver has spent much of the last two decades roaming the Islamic world, and her book shows the fruits of those journeys. Pakistan is a valuable and information-rich [portrait] of a poor and deeply divided country that, she says, could very well become the next of the world's failed states . . . Ms. Weaver's book is full of acute observation, telling detail, and clear insight. Given that Pakistan, as it faces its uncertain future, is going to become more important, not less, we can be thankful that Ms. Weaver has been paying attention."Richard Bernstein, The New York Times

"Weaver's beautifully written reportage goes a long way toward explaining how Pakistan has emerged as the epicenter of terrorism and how Kashmir has become, as Clinton said in 2000, the 'most dangerous place in the world.' Pakistan is a brilliant portrait of a troubled country, vivid and frightening . . . Weaver brings to life the fragile and dangerous contradiction that is Pakistan, from the sandy vastness of Balochistan to the stark hills and dusty bazaars of the Northwest frontier. 'You're a Sindhi, a Baloch, a Punjabi, a Pathan. Pakistan's binding force has always been Islam,' Pakistan's late president Zia ul-Haq told her. 'Without it Pakistan would fall.'"Nayan Chandha, director of publications at the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, and former editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review, in The Washington Post

"Weaver tacks anecdotes from her travels to Pakistan together with her post-September 11 reflections on Osama bin Laden, his crowd, and American policy, so as to lightly sketch a country over-shadowed by 'jihad and Afghanistan.' Her book asks the big questions but it does not really try to address them; instead it contains stories based on her dispatches for The New Yorker of 'irascible chiefs' and Arab falconry, old news of Benazir Bhutto, and much conversation with retired generals and 'top' advisers."Mahnaz Ispahani, The New Republic
"Weaver focuses on the interplay between Pakistani politics and society . . . The debility of Pakistan's institutions and its failure to modernize politically is vividly portrayed . . . Her portrait of Pakistan provides carefully crafted glimpses of its many pathologies."Sumit Ganguly, University of Texas at Austin, Foreign Affairs

"Perceptive . . . Weaver has drawn on her superb skills as an evocative journalist to write a book that, by telling stories and describing scenes, gives a sense of Pakistani life that no amount of dry analysis could convey. She is literally a fireside storyteller . . . Those who are even remotely interested in Pakistan's coming crisis should read [this book]."Ahmed Rashid, The New York Review of Books

"Drawing on 20 years of reporting excursions in Pakistan and Afghanistan for The New Yorker and other publications, Weaver leads us on an illuminating journey that spans lawless tribal territory and presidential palaces alike. What we see when we look through her lens is a Pakistan more deeply troubled, more closely tied to the Taliban, and more rife with anti-American sentiment than anyone would like to admit . . . Some of the information Weaver chooses in forming her narrative is perhaps common knowledge among people familiar with the region, but she fits the pieces together in a way that makes the greater puzzle far more thought-provoking and comprehensive."Ilene R. Prusher, The Christian Science Monitor

"Clear-eyed r

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