Pakistan is an often misunderstood country. We have a range of interviews recommending books that explore the roots of Pakistan’s political instability, its social and political challenges, and the complex role of Islam within the country. They also look at Pakistan’s international position and the relationship with its neighbours, Afghanistan and India.
Anatol Lieven, an academic and a journalist, chooses his best books on understanding Pakistan, looking at the circumstances of the country’s creation and the roots of its political instability. Historian Iftikhar Malik takes on a similar theme, exploring Pakistan, Partition and Identity. Similarly, journalist and author Mani Shankar Aiyar, who served as an Indian diplomat in Pakistan, looks at Pakistan’s history and identity.
Fatima Bhutto, the niece of the former prime minister of the country (Benazir Bhutto), chooses her best books on the politics of Pakistan, while Hassan Abbas, an academic and a former government official in Pakistan, looks at reform in the country. Author Daniyal Mueenuddin and former CIA officer Bruce Riedel both choose their best books on the country itself.
For all its problems, Pakistan is not a failed state, says the academic and writer. He recommends what to read if we’re to grasp the nuances of this complex and potentially explosive nation
India’s first-ever consul general to Karachi says Pakistan is not a failed state. He is convinced that its middle class will save it from the Taliban, and that it can engage with India and set aside historic hostilities.
The academic and former government official suggests which book to read if you want to grasp the dynamics of extremism, but says there’s a lot more to his country’s problems than terrorism
Presidential adviser on Middle East and South Asian issues, former CIA officer and bestselling author chooses five books which explore the critical situation in Pakistan
The Pakistani author and professor describes the past and future of Pakistan, the influences of India, Britain, the US and Islam, via two seminal non-fiction works and three sweeping Pakistani works of fiction
Author and journalist Fatima Bhutto says that to understand Pakistan you must first fully appreciate the devastating impact of American foreign policy on the young nation.
The introduction of drones “makes possible perpetual war without costs”, warns the anthropology professor and security expert Hugh Gusterson. Here he selects the best books that examine their ethical, psychological and political impact upon 21st century warfare.
Pakistani writer Daniyal Mueenuddin explains that if you live somewhere as stable as England it’s very difficult to understand how quickly things are changing in Pakistan
Beleaguered ‘citizens of nowhere’ will be pleased to know they have their own literary genre. For anyone who has ever wondered where they belong, or why, when you leave your home country, it’s never the same when you return, here are the best five books to read—including some by the greatest authors of the 20th century.
The award-winning journalist and author says she laughed out loud when she read Greg Mortenson’s line that if he was killed in Pakistan, he knew it would be in a car accident and not by a terrorist
Historian discusses five books on one of the world’s most enigmatic and dangerous places. “The atmosphere inside the Khyber is certainly very tense. You don’t see people strutting around having a nice time”
Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
by Anna Funder
Nothing to Envy
by Barbara Demick
Behind the Beautiful Forevers
by Katherine Boo
Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
by Patrick Radden Keefe
City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World's Largest Refugee Camp
by Ben Rawlence
Narrative nonfiction is a style of writing that takes the facts and dramatises them to create novelistic retellings of real life events. Samira Shackle, author of Karachi Vice, a book that offers vivid insight into the lives of five of the city’s residents, recommends five books that have inspired her—and explains how a writer might begin to carve ‘plot’ and ‘characters’ from reams of research material.