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On Wings of Diesel: Trucks, Identity and Culture in Pakistan Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-1851687497 ISBN-10: 1851687491

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (March 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851687491
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851687497
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 7.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,701,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"What a pleasure to read, view, and ponder! Elias has made a major contribution to South Asian visual culture." --Andy Rotman, Associate Professor of Religion, Smith College

"A brilliant, solidly constructed study. This is a commanding work of scholarship." --David Morgan, Professor of Religion, Duke University, and Co-editor of the journal Material Religion

"At last a book that treats the emporors of Pakistan's roads with the insight they deserve. Wonderful and engrossing." --Christopher Pinney, Professor of Anthropology and Visual Culture, University College London

"A phenomenal book. Sophisticated as well as lucid - and beautifully illustrated with the author's own photographic work. I recommend it as the single most important contribution to the study of Pakistani society in recent scholarship." --Shahzad Bashir, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, Stanford University

"Well illustrated and very readable. Highly recommended not only for anthropologists, but also for students of Islamic art and as well as of visual and religious studies." --Juergen W. Frembgen, Senior Curator of the Oriental Department, Munich State Museum of Ethnology

About the Author

Jamal J. Elias is Professor of Islamic Studies and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania, and the author of Key Themes for the Study of Islam (Onewolrd 2010). The world's foremost expert on Pakistani truck art, Elias is also a photographer who has held a number of solo and group exhibitions in the US.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bobbie Brown on October 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wanted to learn more about Pakistani truck art and found this book at Amazon. It incorporates history (I could have used even more because we do not know much about this part of the world) which was excellent because it places the truck art in context. The photos are stunning. The only frustration for me was that two pages have images of four trucks (with only 1/4 page it is difficult to see) which does not provide enough close-up detail. The colors and photography are wonderful, and the author does a great service to Pakistani truck art, the primary means of conveying anything in Pakistan. Recommend highly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By NoorM on August 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is incredible! I have already read a book by Elias for a course, and when I saw this I bought it immediately! My family is from Pakistan and when we go to visit I've seen these trucks many times, so it's so great to have a book about them. The author has studied not just the trucks but Pakistani society for many years before writing the book, which has incredible photographs. There is so much research, but it's actually fun to read, especially the parts with the poetry and the funny things that are written on the trucks, which are translated from Urdu, Panjabi, Pashto and other languages. I liked this book so much I bought a second copy for my parents.
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By gwaan on April 3, 2014
Format: Paperback
This is an extremely well-researched book into a fascinating cultural expression = truck designs in Pakistan.

The book is full of colour illustrations with suitable explanations that help the reader appreciate the complexity of the many aspects of this peculiar art. Hence, instead of appearing as simple old trucks with excesive decoration, we appreciate the logic behind this decorative format: from the Urdu poetry to the careful positioning of Islamic references, to the penetration of "bad eye" and it's according defence expressed in paintings, to political icons of Pakistan.

I found the book very well written, not too tedious or overloading but aiming at a vast range of information, including all necessary summaries of Pakistani history and its complex, even uncomfortable, identity as a nation. All of this is then plastered into the trucks, so we begin to identify Shia muslim trucks from other trucks with inclinations to certain brotherhoods, for example. The truckers (drivers, owners, decorators, restaurant owners, police offices) are all well contextualized. It also draws on sharp comparisons to previous books on the subject and analyzes certain weak points in their approach.
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By A. Francolini on April 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the only book worthy of getting if you are into truck art in Pakistan. It is more a university degree style of writing which can be hard to read at times. The amount of research done in order to produce this book is incredible. The images are a bit disappointing having seen the real trucks in action with their vibrant colours.
I have never come across anything like this anywhere and was very please even to find it in many bookshops in Pakistan.
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Format: Hardcover
I picked this up after reading Elias' wonderful book, Aisha's Cushion, about the role of images in Islam. After reading both books, I have to say that Elias' knowledge of the Islamic world, and the insights he's able to derive as a result, are humbling. If, like me, you're hungry for a better understanding of Pakistani society, this thoroughly engaging and visually stunning book is for you. You'll come away with a lot more information than just about the fascinating truck art industry in Pakistan. I suspect that the book contains some surprising insights for even those readers who're already well informed about Pakistan. A reader for whom this topic is new and daunting will not be disappointed either.
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