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Pakistan: Deep Inside the World's Most Frightening State Paperback – February 16, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"The accumulation of disorder in Pakistan is such that it could well be the next Yugoslavia," writes New Yorker correspondent Weaver (Portrait of Egypt: A Journey Through the World of Militant Islam). She portrays a country mired in chaos and decay, speculating on whether Musharraf can win his war against the Islamic extremists and offering a portrait of a general she finds enigmatic. Weaver predicts disaster, not only for Pakistan but for the U.S., if he fails in his battle.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Though there have been several new books on Pakistan, these distinct essays, loosely fitted together, by New Yorker correspondent Weaver (Egypt: A Journey Through the World of Militant Islam) may be perfect for the reader with just a few minutes here and there to pop in and out of the text. Weaver's journalistic contact with Pakistan dates from 1982. She has interviewed two of Pakistan's recent leaders, Benazir Bhutto and General Pervez Musharraf, whose forceful personalities lend this section of the book an immediacy and authenticity. With greater detachment she describes, also drawing on her travels, the separatist movements in Baluchistan and the Sind, pointing out the consequent deep fault lines in the Pakistani state. Of less interest is her long description of the hunting of the Houbara bustard by many Arab sheikhs. Readers wanting a deeper treatment should try BBC correspondent Owen B. Jones's Pakistan: The Eye of the Storm, a thematic study of the nation's ethnic, religious, political, and geopolitical history. Recommended for public libraries.
John F. Riddick, Central Michigan Univ. Libs., Mt. Pleasant
Copyright 2002 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: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Revised ed. edition (February 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374532257
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374532253
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,648,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I really looked forward to the book that I finished in one setting. I was hoping based on the first chapter that she really was going to deliver the goods based on her knowledge and intimacy with the culture and its people. But alas it was not to be. Even though from western journalist standards it was much better effort. I think she could learn a lot more by reading Ayaz Amir and Irfan Hussain (dawn.com) about Pakistan instead of wasting hours talking to Benazir and others. I really wanted to get a grip on Musharraf and Benazir but she wastes her time on platitudes and makes Benazir and others looks more then they are ...A very hands off approach on Musharraf, Benazir and Zia alike. I guess she was trying her best not to offend anyone in case she ever wants to talk to them again. I could expect this from a novice journalist but not Ms. Weaver.
The rest of the book was bunch of newspaper stories stapled together and it had horrible flow--- you didn't know if these chapters are of the same book and no attempt was made to connect them. For example her chapter about Baluchistan and Arabs hunting had nothing to do whatsoever with current environment and she left everything about that in the Baluchistan 's wasteland 20 years back.
I really expected more then she gave. She also gave a short shrift to the US and Pakistan relationship and she doesn't give us any clues other then Gen. Zinny 's bit supporting his friend the general "w/o him Pakistan would turn in chaos" and other typical platitudes that western journalist have been known for when they are too lazy to get the real scoop.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While I only rated this with 3 stars, it is not because this book lacks merit. Unfortunately, I was looking for something that was a graduate-level text vice a 101 text. This is a very easy read, and provides the reader with a good introduction to the sections of Pakistan and their associated issues. In addition, the author does a good job of introducing the major characters of Pakistani history during the last 40 years - Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, General Zia, Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto, and Gen Musharraf. This book should be read by those attempting to gain greater context to current events in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This book is similarly written and as valuable as Sarah Chayes's Punishment of Virture.
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Format: Paperback
The reason I gave this book two stars is because I recently read Steve Coll's Ghost Wars. I found many of the same references when reading Weaver's book that Coll had so brilliantly researched in Ghost Wars. I almost felt like Weaver may have borrowed some lines and phrases from Coll's book. I would save my money and buy Coll's book for a better researched book on the topic of Pakistan. Weaver needs to go back to Journalism 101 and look at ethics.
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By A Customer on February 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 23, 2003
By Ilene Prusher
For those who think that that other war - the one in Afghanistan - is over and done, think again. The characters and currents responsible for triggering the war on terror are as dedicated as they were a year ago, but the more likely battleground for years to come will be next door - in Pakistan, where much of the problem began.
That is one of the most important theses colorfully presented by Mary Anne Weaver in "Pakistan: In the Shadow of Jihad and Afghanistan." 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.
But lest we let ourselves believe that this is all Pakistan's fault, Weaver fleshes out a historical footnote to Al Qaeda that Washington would just as soon forget. Osama bin Laden and friends attracted Islamic militants from around the world and gave them training in Afghanistan with America's help during the cold war. One of "the most startling ironies of today's militant Islamist movement, not just in Pakistan but across the Muslim world," she points out, "is that the great majority of its leaders were funded, armed, and trained - with the same enthusiasm with which they [are] now being pursued - by the United States."
Of all the rogues who benefited from Washington's patronage, Weaver says that the one who fared best was Gulbadin Hekmatyar, today considered perhaps the greatest threat to the transitional Afghan government led by Hamid Karzai.
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Format: Hardcover
I read everything I can find on India and Pakistan-- novels and non-fiction. This particular non-fiction work collects information about several areas of Pakistan that are hard to find elsewhere. As a writer for the New Yorker, Ms. Weaver has entree into circles closed to most of us. She is able to conduct personal interviews with fascinating people ranging from General Musharraf to Benazir Ali Bhutto to the nawabs, sardars and other colorful and important figures from Balochistan, the Northwest Fronteir and elsewhere. What they tell her is incredible. Each chapter contains jaw-dropping revelations. The chapter on the elite of various Arab countries hunting an endangered bird in Pakistan (where Pakistanis themselves are prevented by law from hunting the same bird) deserves a prize. In fact, I wondered several times whether Ms. Weaver will lose some of her sources as a result of writing this book. The chapter about Prime Minister Sharif trying to prevent Musharaff's plane from landing (thereby giving legitimacy to military intervention and the coup) puts one over the edge with suspense. The chapter on Bhutto leaves one with a sadness over the profound loss of opportunity and questioning whether she ever had a chance. Nowhere have I seen any writing approximating the depth of her analysis of Balochistan and its players. Ms. Weaver puts the pieces together so that one can readily see the different forces at work, pulling the country apart. Read it yourself and see if it doesn't completely captivate you. I hope our State Department and Department of Defense people read this book until they know it cold if they don't already.
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