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.
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.
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 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.
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.