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Pakistan: A Modern History

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1403964595
ISBN-10: 1403964599
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Coventry University historian Talbot piles fact upon grim fact to show how Pakistan, born in suffering, has yet to heal the wounds of its past. The woes of this strategically located country seem overwhelming: rapid urbanization and population growth; high infant mortality and low literacy; unfavorable balance of payments; an economy skewed toward military spending; environmental pollution; refugee problems; and violence related to the trafficking of drugs and arms. Islam, with its various flavors, has provided "insufficient cement" for building a nation out of warring ethnic, linguistic and regional factions. Added to all this is the country's perennial conflict with India, and the nuclear competition darkening the horizon. Talbot expresses faith in the courage and resilience of the Pakistani people, but his account of authoritarian regimes, chaotic elections and failed efforts at reform is at odds with his hopes for participatory democracy. Bound to become a standard reference among the watchers of South Asia, this book analyzes the rise and fall of such leaders as Abdul Khan, Yahya Kahn, Zia-ul-Haq, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, the first female leader of a Muslim state. Even informed readers may be daunted by the detail, and the glossary, table of abbreviations, capsule biographies and short histories of political parties are essential to keeping on top of the densely packed material.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A fundamental question in writing the history of a new nation carved out of a larger area is where, in time, to begin. British historian Talbot (Coventry Univ.) concentrates on the push for Pakistan in the 20th century and then discusses the modern state, omitting its initial eastern portion, now Bangladesh. Oriented toward political history, he fails to give the big picture, offering little treatment of the cultural, ethnic, religious, and social issues that have so challenged development in Pakistan over time. Although the author is English, his book does not exhibit the command of the language so often associated with British scholarship on Southeast Asia, and it could use a glossary for its excessive discussion of splinter political groups, each identified by an acronym. Talbot's audience is a specialized one. Others will have to wait for a subsequent history.ADonald Johnson, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Minneapolis
Copyright 1998 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: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1403964599
  • ISBN-13: 978-1403964595
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,639,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
South Asian histiography is beset by three main problems: firstly, it is highly partisan especially books that purport to cover formation of Pakistan and partition of British India. Secondly, these histories tend to concentrate on works of the good and great, or they are based on rather mechanistic structuaral accounts. Thirdly, far too often they are indebted to out-moded epistemologies. It is to his great credit that Ian Talbots overcomes these three problems and produces what is currently the best history of Pakistan availible. He points out that the creation of Pakistan has to take account the scale of popular support that the idea of Pakistan enjoyed among Muslims- something most critics of the creation of Pakistan neglect in their effort to maintain that Pakistan only came to being because of the vanity of handful of individuals. Talbot's account is through and rigourous. Anyone, interested in the history of Pakistan could do no better than read this book.
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Format: Paperback
It's a modern view about Pakistan and about its history, it's important to understand the history and the current situation of this country that it has to decide what position and role wants play in the world scenery.

Moreover it was been the important tool to know the Pakistan's History, because in my country (Italy) it's imposible find something like this.
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Format: Hardcover
I have read this book, always optimistic in the hope that I will come across even better accounts on this much misunderstood subject, but sadly that is a wish that remains unfulfilled after many long years. Ian Talbot has meticulously documented and provided scholastic information that will otherwise be useful and handy for students and interested readers alike, but I--for one--would like to add through this review, a synopsis of what I feel he has left out. This concerns the crux of what needs to be sorely known about Pakistan's basic realities.
Pakistan is definitely in many ways a historical "stepchild" of India, whose creation is owed to some complex situations evolved in India due to extensive invasions from its Northwestern side, and the arrival of Islam here through those invasions. Unlike other "standard" nation states of the modern era, however, Pakistan is enveloped in an aura of artificiality. This is not simply because of the fact that it was carved "artificially" out of India on the demand of one man for apparently fudgy reasons; but
this artificiality is more apparent in the fact that when its 54 year history is studied, Pakistan is seen as a state which seems to exist primarily in order to fulfill the predatory aims of its ruling elite classes, unlike most other countries in the world. (This elite has been rated as among the most rapacious by the world's premier anti-corruption think-tanks and watchdog bodies). The prime reason of this elite's existence and rule of the Pakistani state all along has been corruption and misappropriation of wealth for their own enjoyment. It was for this reason that they lost East Pakistan, which became Bangladesh in 1971 after a landmark struggle.
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By A Customer on May 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The book is heavily referenced and is not easy to read.
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