Pakistan: A New History (Columbia/Hurst)

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9780231703185: Pakistan: A New History (Columbia/Hurst)

If Pakistan is to preserve all that is good about its country -- the generosity and hospitality of its people, the dynamism of its youth -- then it must face the deterioration of its social and political institutions. Sidestepping easy headlines to identify Pakistan's true dangers, this volume revisits the major turning points and trends of Pakistani history over the past six decades, focusing on the increasing entrenchment of Pakistan's army in its political and economic arenas; the complex role of Islam in public life; the tensions between central and local identities and democratic impulses; and the affect of geopolitical influences on domestic policy and development.

While Ian Talbot's study centers on Pakistan's many failures -- the collapse of stable governance, the drop in positive political and economic development, and, most of all, the unrealized goal of securing a separate Muslim state -- his text unequivocally affirms Pakistan's potential for a positive reawakening. These failures were not preordained, Talbot agues, and such a fatalistic reading does not respect the complexity of historical events, individual actors, and the nation's own rich resources. Talbot's sensitive historical approach makes it clear that favorable opportunities still remain for Pakistan, in which the state has a chance to reclaim its priorities and institutions and reestablish political and economic sustainability.

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About the Author:

Ian Talbot is professor of history at Southampton University and one of Europe's leading historians of South Asia. He is the author of many books on the subcontinent.

Review:

Ian Talbot builds on his earlier historical analyses of Pakistan. He reflects on the entrenchment of the army in politics; issues surrounding the role of Islam in public life; tensions between centralizing tendencies and local identities; and the impact of geopolitics on internal development. In doing so, Talbot lays bare Pakistan's failures in governance and economic and political development and concludes the country's security crisis may not be the worst it will have to face, since more serious threats lie in population and environmental pressures. Talbot's judgments are balanced and his words authoritative.

(Francis Robinson, Royal Holloway, University of London)

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Talbot, Ian
Published by Columbia University Press (2012)
ISBN 10: 023170318X ISBN 13: 9780231703185
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Talbot, Ian
Published by Columbia University Press
ISBN 10: 023170318X ISBN 13: 9780231703185
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