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Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within [Hardcover]

Shuja Nawaz
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 15, 2008 0195476603 978-0195476606 1ST
Based on 30 years of research and analysis, this definitive book is a profound, multi-layered, and historical analysis of the nature and role of the Pakistan army in the country's polity as well as its turbulent relationship with the United States. Shuja Nawaz examines the army and Pakistan in both peace and war. Using many hitherto unpublished materials from the archives of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army, as well as interviews with key military and political figures in Pakistan and the United States, he sheds light not only on the Pakistan Army and its US connections but also on Pakistan as a key Muslim country in one of the world's toughest neighborhoods. In doing so, he lays bare key facts about Pakistan's numerous wars with India and its many rounds of political musical chairs, as well as the Kargil conflict of 1999. He then draws lessons from this history that may help Pakistan end its wars within and create a stabler political entity.

Editorial Reviews


The strength of his book derives from his interviews with serving and retired military officers...Nawaz has penned a book which will become a standard reference on the Pakistani army for years to come. Dr Ahmed Faruqui RUSI To understand Pakistan you need to understand the army and to understand the army you need to read this book Owen Bennett-Jones, BBC Shuja Nawaz has used his considerable expertise to delve deep into the Pakistan Army. The result is an insightful study of an institution that has been, and remains, the center of gravity in Pakistan. This superbly researched book comes at a critical time in Pakistans history. A must read to understand the past and the ongoing events. General Jehangir Karamat, Chief of Army Staff, Pakistan. 1996-98 At a time of crisis and peril for Pakistan, this ground breaking book offers unprecedented information about and provides unique insights into the countrys most important and powerful institution. Nawaz opens new ground on the army that has ruled Pakistan for half its political life. The army wields immense power in troubled Pakistan. Nawaz explains why and how in the most well researched and lucidly written book of its kind. Ahmed Rashid, author of Taliban, and Jihad: the Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia

About the Author

Shuja Nawaz is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he won the Henry Taylor Award. He was a television newscaster and producer with Pakistan Television from 1967 to 1972 and covered the 1971 war with India on the Western front. He has worked for The New York Times, the World Health Organization, as a Division Chief for the International Monetary Fund, and a Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and has widely written and spoken on military and politico-economic issues on radio, television, and at Think Tanks. He was Editor of Finance & Development, the multilingual quarterly of the IMF and the World Bank.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1ST edition (July 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195476603
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195476606
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 6.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,345,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Shuja Nawaz, a native of Pakistan, is a political and strategic analyst and writes for leading newspapers and The Huffington Post, and speaks on current topics before civic groups, at think tanks, and on radio and television. He has worked on projects with RAND, the United States Institute of Peace, The Center for Strategic and International Studies, The Atlantic Council, and other leading think tanks on projects dealing with Pakistan and the Middle East.

In January 2009 he was made the first Director of the South Asia Center at The Atlantic Council of the United States.

Educated at Gordon College, Rawalpindi, where he obtained a BA in Economics and English Literature and the Graduate School of Journalism of Columbia University in New York, where he was a Cabot Fellow and won the Henry Taylor International Correspondent Award, he was also a member of the prize-winning team at Stanford University's Publishing Program. He was a newscaster and producer for Pakistan Television and covered the 1971 war with India on the Western Front. He has worked for the World Health Organization and the New York Times and has headed three separate divisions at the International Monetary Fund. He was also a Director at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. Mr. Nawaz was the Managing Editor and then Editor of Finance & Development, the multilingual quarterly of the IMF and the World Bank and on the Editorial Advisory Board of the World Bank Research Observer.

His latest book is Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its Army, and the Wars Within (Oxford University Press 2008), available on the web and from leading booksellers worldwide. He is also the principal author of FATA: A Most Dangerous Place (CSIS, Washington, D.C., January 2009).

He can be contacted at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and Detailed December 30, 2010
This is a great book on Pakistan and it's history. I've read several over the past few months including "Pakistan Between Mosque and Military", "Deception: Pakistan, the United States and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons", "Descent into Chaos", "The Duel", "Military Inc." and "Pakistan Deep Inside the World's Most Frightening State".

This is the most comprehensive-detailed account of the history of Pakistan and fills in a lot of history that was skimmed over in some of these other works. I consider it an essential part of anyone trying to learn, in depth, about the nation.

However, all of these books share 2 common issues for Westerners though.

1. These works all sorely lack maps and graphical representation of data. This title and many like it are presenting a tremendous amount of information about a region and people that many of the readers are not in any way familiar with. I find I need to keep Google maps open and make copious notes while reading these titles just to keep track of some of the events, especially when they describe battles...

Also some charts laying out the power structure of the government and the relations between the political parties, mullahs and military would've made understanding some of the information a lot easier to comprehend.

2. More pictures of the people/places being discussed in context. I understand these are scholarly texts but modern printing technology affords these writers many bells and whistles that were not available to their predecessors. Knowledge transfer would definitely be improved by some of the above mentioned features.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading in understanding Pakistan August 11, 2008
Anyone with a true desire to understand our essential, yet phlegmatic, ally in the Mideast should take the time to read and reflect on this comprehensive history of the complicated relationship between the Pakistan Army and the governments of Pakistan and the US. It is a true insiders view carefully researched and presented. It is not light reading but important in it's insights as we continue to define the US role in this area of the world. I wish it had been available to our leaders in 2002.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crossed Swords June 29, 2009
This book is not suitable for light reading due to the amount of detail, but it is an excellent reference. I have found that when the name of a politician or military leader appears in the papers I can look him up in this book and get a rough bio. It is a thorough Who's Who of Pakistan since its inception.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authoritative study of the Pakistani Army April 22, 2012
Weighing in at nearly 600 pages, this is the best in-depth examination of Pakistan's army I have come across. Mr. Nawaz is the brother of Asif Nawaz, the former Chief of Army Staff who died in mysterious circumstances in 1993. His study provides an insider's view of the Pakistani military, and displays extensive knowledge of that institution. The book is arranged chronologically, and presents a detailed history of military affairs since Pakistan's independence. This is a long and complicated story; and it is not intended for readers who are newcomers to the subject. However, those who seek a more profound understanding of Pakistan will find this work invaluable.

Nawaz discusses a wide range of topics which have been poorly recorded by western historians. The 1947 and 1965 Indo-Pakistan Wars over Kashmir are explained in detail. Of particular interest is his analysis of the 1971 war and the crisis leading to the birth of Bangladesh (Sheikh Mujib's civil disobedience movement, "Operation Searchlight", and India's intervention). This bloody episode and its repercussions are crucial to understanding the modern history of the region.

The book is also excellent at describing how the Pakistani military progressively took power from the political establishment after independence. The different stages of this process are well-documented by the author. He notes the unresolved murder of Pakistan's first PM, Liaqat Ali Khan, and reviews Ayub Khan's military coup in 1958. Khan combined the offices of president and prime minister in a new constitution which was rubber-stamped by the judiciary (the "Doctrine of Necessity"). Nawaz vividly chronicles the struggle for power between Zia ul-Haq and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and in-depth. April 9, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent anthology on Pakistan's Army since the birth of the nation. A must-read for anyone studying Pakistan and its Army.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! March 15, 2014
One thing I can say about Shuja Nawaz is that he doesn't pull any punches in his analysis of the relationships between the Pakistan Army, bureaucracy and politicians. His book was part of my research when I was sketching out ideas and thoughts for my debut novel, and I can honestly say that many of the things he wrote were echoed in interviews with Army personnel.

A must read for those who want to understand the "democratic" system and the relationships of politicians with the powerful Pakistan Army.
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