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Songs of Blood and Sword: A Daughter's Memoir Hardcover – September 28, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568586329
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568586328
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #572,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The tense first chapter of this moving memoir ends with the announcement, “Your father’s been shot.” Fatima was 14 in 1996 when her beloved father, Mir Murtazi Bhutto, was murdered by police in Karachi. Her grandfather, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan, was executed in 1979. One aunt was murdered in 1985, and another aunt, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated in 2007. Was Benazir involved in the murder of Fatima’s father? With the account of her dynastic family and their bloody battles, Bhutto weaves in the politics of Pakistan and its foreign relations, including those with the U.S., the Middle East, and China. Exposing the corruption of the present leadership and the military, she is passionate about how fundamentalist religion is used to thwart democracy. Was her grandfather removed for attempting to bring in some semblance of democracy? Can a dynasty introduce democracy? With the current arguments about the role of the U.S. in Afghanistan and in nuclear-armed Pakistan, this fierce insider’s view will have a wide readership, both angry and sympathetic. --Hazel Rochman

Review

William Dalrymple, Financial Times
“Moving, witty . . . a uniquely fascinating, wonderfully well-constructed memoir.”

Sir Bob Geldof
“The Bhuttos are an Asian Borgia or Plantagenet dynastic family. This then is an important and timely book offering a rare insight into the violent world of Pakistani politics told by a direct witness. It’s also the story of a daughter’s love for her murdered father and many other members of her family. Power not only corrupts—it kills.”           
 
The Independent
“A story with dazzling twists and turns told by a true-blue member of the Bhutto fold.”
 
Irish Times
“Political intrigue, administrative corruption and widespread avarice, refracted through a narrative of family history and sibling hostilities, make Songs of Blood and Sword read like a darker version of Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy.” 
 
Charles Glass, former ABC News Chief Middle East Correspondent, author of Tribes with Flags and Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation.
"Fatima Bhutto writes a compelling account that is both political and personal. Her life is proof that in Pakistan, torn apart by American diktat and local avarice, the political is the personal. Her passion and integrity ring out on every page. If you don't understand what is happening to Pakistan and Afghanistan, you soon will."
 
Roderick  Matthews, The Guardian
“In clear and unpretentious prose [Songs of Blood and Sword] gives a vivid impression of the brutal and corrupt world of Pakistani power politics, which has resulted in the violent deaths of four members of the Bhutto dynasty in the past thirty-one years.”

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Customer Reviews

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Very well researched and very well written.
kay coulter
As Fatima Bhutto is a fairly elite person who's family has lived well off of the work of others while being of the warrior class.
Amazon Customer
I started reading her book and couldn't put it down.
Zeeshan Siddiqui

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By giovanni on June 1, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Fatima Bhutto is a young , beautiful and opinionated pakistani columnist who also happens to be the niece of Benazir Bhutto , twice the prime minister of Pakistan and eventually assaninated during a campaign rally back in 2007 . She has just released a very uneven book about her father , Murtaza Bhutto who was gunned down under mysterious circumanstances back in 1996 outside his home in Karachi.
The book itself is indeed " a love letter " to her father , as the writter herself has said in an interview and a hateful letter to her late aunt for whom she finds flaws to point out even while Benazir was still a teenager .
Fatima's world seems to be strictly split between the good guys ( her father , his friends and allies , her grandfather and strangely enough the chinese and Hafez al Assad's Syria ) and the bad guys ( mainly Benazir Bhutto and the americans ) . Murtaza Bhutto is presented here as the perfect man , the perfect politician , the perfect father , the perfect husband and even the perfect boyfriend in the case of Della Garoufalis , a woman married to a jailed general of the failed greek junta. " I had to understand why he went to Kabul . It was a decision which changed our lifes " writes Fatima but never is she willing to question anything about her father's actions , even his decision to take up arms .
I have not lived in Pakistan so i don't know which Bhutto had more influence to the pakistani people or was more righteous or honest but having read many interviews of all of them on the web and seen speeches of theirs on youtube , i can say all three public figures of the family ( Benazir , Murtaza and their father Zulfiqar ) seemed to excel in a typical populist rhetoric which promises much more than can be delivered .
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68 of 86 people found the following review helpful By Zico on June 6, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
I approached this book with both interest (I am a Pakistani and from Karachi, and attended the same high school as Ms. Bhutto) and an open mind. I have heard that Fatima Bhutto is a smart, outspoken, and young Pakistani woman. For this reason, I was curious about the content of this book. Neverthless, coming from a family as cursed and controversial as the Bhuttos, I had reservations initially, about whether she would indeed provide truth, clarity, and candor into the crazy world of the Bhutto clan. As I had expected, the book is a huge and utter disappointment.

It is impossible for a Bhutto to be balanced and objective regarding all that the Bhutto ruling clan have contributed to Pakistan both positively and (overwhelmingly) negatively. Despite a Western liberal education, formative years outside of the larger Bhutto yoke, and slights received by various members of the Bhuttocracy, Ms. Bhutto has not been able to shed her Bhutto-ness, especially when approaching the subject of her grandfather, and her father. Her views regarding her aunt Benazir were already well known to me, thru her various comments in the media in the past. That Benazir and her husband have left our country in tatters is apparent to anyone who lives in the real world (not the PPP stalwarts who are deluded beyond comprehension). This book did not provide any analysis or information that any realistic and interested party into the world of Paksitani politics, would have known anyway. Her comments about the Benazir-Zaradari Axis was not enlightening in the least, except for her personal remarks about them, which makes for interesting tabloid-esque material.

The real problem with this book is the lack of adequate critical analysis of her grandfather and her father.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Karina A. Suarez VINE VOICE on November 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I first heard about Fatima Bhutto's book in the October 2010 edition of "Vogue" magazine. In an article entitled "Dreams of her father", written by Vogue's regular columnist Elizabeth Rubin, the young woman lets the world know not only her version of how her father died, but also about the tight bond she had with him. For Fatima Bhutto, her father was her world. So much so, that when he once broke his arm and had to wear a cast for a few weeks, she insisted in wearing one as well. Although she was only four, the young girl stood by her father throughout his setback.

She also stood by his side when he was drenched in blood, agonizing during the last minutes of his life, barely tended to at the Mideast Clinic in Karachi - "I kissed my father's face, his cheeks, his lips, his nose, his chin, over and over again." (page 413). Having seen death more than once at a very young age myself, albeit only of natural causes, I cannot even begin to imagine how this must have impacted a girl of just fourteen, the age Bhutto was at the time her father was assassinated in his native Pakistan.

The Bhuttos are a political dynasty who does not escape the air of tragedy that goes attached to most other political dynasties, like the Kennedys or the Borgias. The patriarch and founder of the Pakistan's People Party or PPP, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB), was himself hanged after a coup d'état in 1979, setting the tone for the death of other members of the family, at the pace of one per decade, as Bhutto is quick to point out.
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