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Daughter of Destiny: An Autobiography Paperback – April 15, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Prime Minister of Pakistan, Bhutto writes with poise and passion in this autobiography, both a catharsis and a coming to terms with her past. In the poignant opening chapter, she describes the brutal murder in 1977 of her father, Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, by General Zia ul-Haq. Under Zia's 11-year military dictatorship, propped up by the CIA and the Reagan administration, the author was kept under house arrest, then imprisoned for years in a cell, where guards encouraged her to commit suicide. She writes lovingly of her brother Shah Nawaz, whose highly suspicious death may have been a CIA murder, she speculates. She is evasive or reticent on sundry personal matters, such as her arranged marriage in 1987. Reading Bhutto's reminiscences about prison, schooling at Harvard and Oxford and her valuable work during her political exile, the reader grows impatient to learn more about what she intends to do for Pakistan, but the book ends on the eve of her triumphant election in late 1988. Photos. First serial to People.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Written by the new, young, female Prime Minister of Pakistan, this book is less her life story than a fascinating peek into the seamier side of Pakistani politics and a rabid diatribe against the late President Zia, who executed her illustrious father (also a democratically elected Prime Minister) despite international protests. It is the story of a remarkable family who bred a woman to leadership in a conservative Muslim society, of the sacrifice made to do so, and of the triumph of witnessing the masses once more exercising the right to vote in an ultra-poor Third World country. The account is biased, however, and must be balanced by another view such as Salmaan Taseer's excellent Bhutto, A Political Biography (Ithaca Pr., 1979). Recommended for most large collections.
- Louise Leonard, Univ. of Florida Lib., Gainesville
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (April 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061672688
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061672682
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Benazir Bhutto, mother, first Woman and two-time Prime Minister, and life-long Pakistani patriot, sets forth her version of Pakistani history here - at least the history during her and her father's reign. Her version is a private chronicling of her public life; her educational years; and her years incarcerated, under house arrest, and in exile.

It is often laced with bitter memories and understandable bitterness expressed towards the murderer of her father, ex-President Zia-ul-Haq; towards those who were responsible for her incarceration, which lasted for a total of about seven years. She also has many equally unkind things to say about the viciousness of Pakistani internal politics, although the role her family played in making it so is carefully omitted.

On balance, her outlook and the book are generally upbeat. She never completely loses faith in, or gives up on the hope and the dream that Pakistan can turn itself around and become the kind of open democracy she envisioned it to be, and which, almost with an obsession, that ended in her death, she seemed bent on leading it to become. Agreeing to an arranged marriage to a Pakistani playboy, she admits to being not much of either a mother, or a wife: politics remaining her primary preoccupation throughout her adult life.

In the wake of her assassination, her autobiography seems to have served as part of the national mourning process, at least for her followers and admirers. And while this book, her autobiography, naturally portrays her as the national hero that she surely is, we all know that her reign as leader of Pakistan was not without its own problems and was itself beset with many intrigues. None of this is mentioned in the book. One hopes, that in due course, a more definitive and a more balanced account of Pakistani history covering the period of her and her family's reign, soon will be forthcoming. Four Stars
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Benazir Bhutto, on the brink of a political comeback against the odds in several ways, was assassinated after a political rally on December 27, 2007. Bhutto is an impressive figure from a prominent political family, whose history includes several untimely deaths -- her own father, a Prime Minister of Pakistan, was killed in a coup in the 1970s; her brothers were killed in suspicious circumstances. Now Bhutto herself has been lost, and likely the aftermath will continue in different ways for some time to come, both internally to Pakistan as well as internationally.

Bhutto's strongest claim to fame in history will be that she was the first female Prime Minister of a Muslim nation, an accomplishment unlikely to be achieved in any other Muslim nation any time soon (even nations such as Turkey, which are officially secular). Her rise in some ways paralleled that of Indira Gandhi, who also gained political power in large part from the family reputation bestowed upon her initially. Bhutto, however, was no mere figurehead for her family or her party. Educated at Oxford and Harvard, she had a good intellect and a keen understanding of the world.

This book details Bhutto's feelings and memories of her family, her growing years, and the struggle to the point of her first election as Prime Minister (she would go on to be re-elected after being deposed, and then spend many years in exile in the West). This is not dissimilar to the kinds of books that every American presidential candidate feels obliged to publish - part policy, part history, part wish-list. Still, it is one of the rare books we have on Bhutto, and (at least partially) by Bhutto. As such, it is worthy to be read. How it will compare to the upcoming autobiography (due to be released in April 2008) will be interesting.
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Format: Paperback
Benazir Bhutto is a striking personality-she is both hated and loved in Pakistan, very much Indira Gandhi on a somewhat smaller scale. Her autobiography begins with her reaction to her father's death-Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged by General Zia ul-Haq after a military coup and the pleadings of the world community. Throughout the book, Benazir paints Zia as the ultimate devil, the evil that consumed Pakistan and sent her family into prison or death. The book is extremely melodramatic in tone, but to me it was quite appealing-not as a portrayal of Mrs. Bhutto's personality but rather as another testament in the mixed reviews of her reign. The book ends with the votes about to be cast in her favor-and they did. Benazir was elected to two terms, but was dismissed by Pakistan's President and replaced by political rival Nawaz Sharif. She has been accused of financial laundering and at one time had an arrest warrant placed on her in Pakistan. Though her character is now under question, Benazir Bhutto still remains a well-spoken, articulate voice, and there is no better reflection of these qualities than in DAUGHTER OF DESTINY. She speaks without much bitterness-there is only moderate waxing of effluvium about the cruel fates her early destiny went through. Though, not having experienced life in Pakistan under her rule as Prime Minister, I cannot form any political or personal view towards Mrs. Bhutto, one thing is clear to me-she has the ability to make her voice heard. Whether or not she is 'defending' American airstrikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan or speaking of how she believes her brother's shooting death was related to a conspiracy to remove the 'Bhutto factor from Pakistani politics', Benazir has an articulate and clear voice. Now if only her morals and character were so lucid.
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