In the Line of Fire: A Memoir

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Overview

According to Time magazine, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf holds "the world's most dangerous job." He has twice come within inches of assassination. His forces have caught more than 670 members of al Qaeda in the mountains and cities, yet many others remain at large and active, including Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahiri. Long locked in a deadly embrace with its nuclear neighbor India, Pakistan has come close to full-scale war on two occasions since it first exploded a nuclear bomb in 1998. As ...
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In the Line of Fire: A Memoir

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Overview

According to Time magazine, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf holds "the world's most dangerous job." He has twice come within inches of assassination. His forces have caught more than 670 members of al Qaeda in the mountains and cities, yet many others remain at large and active, including Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahiri. Long locked in a deadly embrace with its nuclear neighbor India, Pakistan has come close to full-scale war on two occasions since it first exploded a nuclear bomb in 1998. As President Musharraf struggles for the security and political future of his nation, the stakes could not be higher for the world at large.

It is unprecedented for a sitting head of state to write a memoir as revelatory, detailed, and gripping as In the Line of Fire. Here, for the first time, readers can get a firsthand view of the war on terror in its central theater. President Musharraf details the manhunts for Osama and Zawahiri and their top lieutenants, complete with harrowing cat-and-mouse games, informants, interceptions, and bloody firefights. He tells the stories of the near-miss assassination attempts, not only against himself but against Shaukut Aziz (later elected prime minister) and one of his top army officers (later the vice chief of army staff), and of the abduction and beheading of Daniel Pearl -- as well as the forensic and shoe-leather investigations that uncovered the perpetrators. He details the army's mountain operations that have swept several valleys clean, and he talks about the areas of North Waziristan where al Qaeda is still operating.

Yet the war on terror is just one of the many headline-making subjects in In the Line of Fire. The full story of the events that brought President Musharraf to power in 1999 is told for the first time. He reveals new details of the 1999 confrontation with India in Kashmir (the Kargil conflict) and offers a proposal for resolving the Kashmir dispute.

He offers a portrait of Mullah Omar, with stories of Pakistan's attempts to negotiate with him. Concerning A. Q. Khan and his proliferation network, he explains what the government knew and when it knew it, and he reveals fascinating details of Khan's operations and the investigations into them.

In addition, President Musharraf takes many stances that will make news. He calls for the Muslim world to recognize Israel once a viable Palestinian state is created. He urges the repeal of Pakistan's 1979 Hudood law. He calls for the emancipation of women and for their full political equality with men. He tells the sad story of Pakistan's experience with democracy and what he has done to make it workable.

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Editorial Reviews

Pamela Constable
…despite its limits as a window into history, In the Line of Fire offers valuable insights—sometimes intentionally, sometimes not—about an important U.S. partner in the war on terrorism whose powerful, secretive military-intelligence apparatus was once the Taliban's chief patron…In his writing, as in many of his public comments, Musharraf can prove both his own best salesman and his own worst enemy. Still, this memoir tells us a great deal about a military Muslim leader we need to understand—and about a country to which we should have been paying much more attention.
—The Washington Post
Foreign Affairs
Pakistan, the second-largest Muslim state (after Indonesia), a nuclear power, and an uneasy neighbor of India, Afghanistan, and Iran, is fated to play a demanding diplomatic game -- one never more demanding nor more in the public eye than in the years after 9/11. This is the autobiography of the professional military officer who has been calling the shots for Pakistan since 1999, when he seized power in what he calls a "counter coup." As with any memoir by a public figure, especially one still in power, this is more an apologia than a rounded history, but it is an especially good example of the genre. It reveals clearly the mindset of this military man and addresses openly major issues: Musharraf's controversial role in the 1999 Kargil conflict, which brought Pakistan to the brink of full-scale war with India; the case of the Pakistani nuclear scientist A. Q. Khan; the promising but ultimately disappointing negotiations with India; and, most of all, the changed relations with Islamists at home and abroad provoked by the post-9/11 American appeal (or ultimatum).
Kirkus Reviews
The Pakistani leader recounts a life steered by "luck and destiny" and vigorously defends and promotes his nation to the world. A turning point in Musharraf's well-written memoir comes when he recalls one of many attempts to remove him from the scene. In 1999, former leader Nawaz Sharif engineered a bizarre coup that hinged on keeping Musharraf, then commander of the Pakistani military, from leading the army against him by preventing his plane from landing on Pakistani soil. Eventually landing with only a few minutes' worth of fuel to spare, Musharraf borrowed a flak jacket, coordinated the arrest of the coup leaders and took control of a country that, he ruefully acknowledges, has not done its best to be a democracy. Clearly, by Musharraf's account, he's working to improve matters; he advocates religious freedom, gender equality and freedom of speech, and urges that if Pakistan is to move toward prosperity and international influence, it will "have to suppress extremism and intolerance and eradicate them from our society." Such opinions have inspired several assassination attempts, and Musharraf's efforts at destroying al-Qaeda strongholds within the country, which he describes in much detail, have earned him new enemies. Yet the now widely reported news in this memoir is another confrontation: Following 9/11, he writes, the American ambassador presented him with a list of demands that he found unacceptable, among them "blanket overflight and landing rights" that were, he believed, tantamount to a surrender of national sovereignty. Daring to stand up earned him what he describes as "the most undiplomatic statement ever made" on the part of U.S. deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage,who repeated his boss's for-us-or-for-the-terrorists formula and warned that "if we chose the terrorists, then we should be prepared to be bombed back to the Stone Age."Pakistan, Musharraf insists, is doing what it can to contain Islamist terrorism. Time will tell, but his memoir sheds much light on the politics and challenges of the region.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439150436
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 11/18/2008
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 1,414,269
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Pervez Musharraf's
life has mirrored the life of his country, ever since Pakistan's creation when he was a four-year-old boy. His and Pakistan's stories are dramatic, fateful, and crucial to the entire world.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 29 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(23)

4 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2007

    Best Non-Fictional Book Out There

    I think that people should stop criticizing the governenment of Pakistan. I personally was born and raised in the Gulf but have close connections with people that are from Pakistan. In no way do i think that the military is controlling Pakistani civilians. I think that the government has dramatically improved since the rise of Musharaf. The corrution is there but is been limited to a certain level. In order for us to learn about the country, we have to look at it from the point of view of the person that runs the country itself. He is not bias and has seen many different instances in his years as a politician. He should be applauded for his ability to stand on his own, against some of the most powerful countries out there. I think people should be open-minded and willing to learn about other politicians, as they read the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2006

    Where Do These Facts Come From?

    I am very disappointed with Musharraf's book, one that he seemed to promote more than diplomacy on his visit to the United States a few weeks ago. Many of the facts found throughout the book have no reference attributed to them, and after having done some research, many are indeed incorrect (e.g., Urdu did not originate in Turkey as Musharraf claims). I found it troubling that Musharraf writes in one section about a flight he took to Karachi. This flight had many schoolchildren with many asking him for his autograph and photo. When officials in Karachi refused to let him land in Pakistan and the pilot said they might crash unless they landed in India, however, Musharaff was willing to crash this same plane rather than attempt to save these children and other passengers by trying to land in India. I find these contrasts in his character to be very untenable. I am glad that I live in a democracy where I can freely express my views on this book. It is a shame that Musharraf's people cannot in the same capacity. Perhaps through his military power, Musharraf can have his citizens by his book for him.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2006

    exposing the truth

    a book from a person who was and is involved in all the major and infulential events of this century so far, has to to be somthing special and i am disappointed .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2006

    Very Factual and Iconoclastic

    Excellent book indeed. Simple style and substantive. Some naive tendencies of the general very apparent.Some surprise revelations to contradict popular myths and fiction. Shows our strengths.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2006

    In the Line of Fire: A Memoir

    it tells you what an honest leader goes thru to fight corruption in third world country. i have read few chapters soo far and very impresed with honesty and truth. it is the truth that musharaf is living a very dangerous life. being in pakistani army as a commando and then as a cheif of army and later as president is very dangerous where opposition who knows no boundries to steal and cheat. i think musharf has given us a very clear picture in his book.(its worth making of a movie). i think this book is saying it all as i have read other books from opposition and so far musharaf is the best thing happened since pakistan was made and i have no doubts about his honesty. after reading more i can say its a sad thing that opposition will go this far to get power and money and will try to break their own country. leaders who were corrupt and were kicked out of country will unite with their enimies to get power

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2006

    THE BEST MEMOIR EVER !!

    This has been the best book i have ever read. I contains so much Information about how President Bush lied to his country and Fasely accused other people like Bin Laden and some countries. It also proves that Bush threanted countries too. this is really a amazing book that i would like all of you to buy or atleast read some how. it will completley change your precpective about U.S. and it show how American Governemnt actually did the 9/11 attack and not BIn Laden. these are some of the reason why i call this the best book i have ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2006

    The General needs to tell the truth

    I have gone through the above mentioned book and found it to contain some elements which can be best described as far fetched from reality. The general's description of the events in general represent an amateurish attempt at writing. The book though open in parts, also contain a plethora of contradictions which make it quite amusing. The best part is the one on the Kargil conflict between Indian and Pakistani armies where the general alleges that the then Pak PM Nawaz Sharief was ¿involved in planning from the beginning.¿ Now everyone knows that civilian authorities are always kept out of the decision making spectrum in Pakistan. Besides I am not sure as to in what way the PM who is a staunch politician would have contributed to what was essentially a military operation. The general fails to elaborate on the events after the surrender at Washington and also does not mention as to how and why the Pakistani army accepted surrender. The general has also managed to hide certain events including the fact that he was part of a mission to quell a Shia revolt in the Gilghit region in the mid eighties where he had partnered with none other than Osama Bin Laden. This is an otherwise dry book devoid of any significant facts or insights into the generals life as he had managed to hide the truth behind a veil of lies and concoctions. However, this book may prove to be useful for academicians and defense strategists who can study the same and decipher a pattern of thinking in the generals mind.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2006

    Musharaf savior of Pakistan

    Before Musharaf came to power the two previous Prime Ministers of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Shariff had emptied the country's treasury through corruption and graft. Pakistan's reputation was at an all time low. Pakistan's treasury is at a healthy 12 billion and the world respects Pakistan knowing they are the front line state against terrorism.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2006

    General is Trapped ...

    This book, about its timing of publication, seems to be a trap. Well laid out for him to suffer in future. This would be interesting to find out as to who actually 'prompted' him to lay things bare, as he has done. He is not only 'in the line of fire', but has played with fire, by writing about Kargil, and Pakistani Atomic Program, among other things. One can safely predict many a rebuttals coming out soon, especially from India.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2006

    Classis Book the Bunch of Truth

    Excellent book to read with a lot information. Astonishingly revealing and honest book with a lot of infomation to read. General is very bright and smart for all the decisions he made in the War on Terror and being a great American friend and ally.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2006

    Best book by any polictician in recent years!

    I read the book cover to cover and found it extremely helpful in understanding the political situation in Pakistan and its effect on the world's polictics. Its a must read for the any person of any age and especially the politicians and students. Good job Pres. Musharraf.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2006

    In the line of fire

    This is the first time,I read any biography,and I really like it. Personal,suspenseful,tragic at times hilarious.Good job!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2006

    A new start

    This books is very interesting and informative,it covers so many topics which are the hottest ones and everyone wants to know the inner story like Dr A.Q khan,9/11 war on terrorism,talibaan,about the politicans of pakistan like benazir and nawaz sharif,extremism,.this book also shows the great leadership qualities of the president.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2006

    A MUST READ...

    An excellent move by this sensible army man turned politician. Its about time people know the truth what really happens in these 3rd world countries. It¿s an excellent opportunity that some one while in the office of president has had the courage to tell the people around the world how a country was run under him & prior to his leadership.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2006

    Most effective War on Terror

    Great job. I knew that he has done so much for Pakistan but this book tells me exactly how this was achieved. Also this is the classic example of how to fight terror most effectively. There could be many thriller movies based on this book. Must read for every one who is interested in current affairs of war on terror.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2006

    Its time for truth

    This is the time ever in the history of pakistan that someone has stood up to tell the truth. Books goes in a real detail of kargil, what US has done with pakistan and how musharaf has reduced the corruption in the country. Must read this book. It will change the your way of thinking toward pakistan and US.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2006

    Best Book Ever

    I read the book and found it very exiciting. I regret that civilian government had to retreat from Kargil. We had the full opertunity to free kashmir from occuping indians. I love the fact that he leashed indians.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2006

    Brilliant

    I am actually and Indian - I really couldn't put this great book down, even my wife enjoyed reading it. Really leaves you breathless. Brutally honest man!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2006

    An Example of Boldness for Politicians in IndoPak and for the World

    A must read written by the general a very candid account of his life and events. His remarks about United States are little worrisome in the sense that US may not appreciate his boldness and Pakistan will have to suffer some lack of friendliness from US, which they may not afford. Overall an impressive effort and example for politicians in India and Asia and third world to emulate to be open and bold and share what do you know and what one thinks. I would rate the book as ahead of its time may be atleast 10-15 years ahead of its time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2006

    A no-non sense book on Indian Sub Continent

    I think this is the first time we heard the real Kargil story without any propanganda. Although Kargil did not turn out as excatly planned by Pakistan Army, nevertheless it taught India a good lesson.It was India which had been gradually taking away land from Paksitan after every winter retreat. Kargil was an attempt by Pakistan Army to reverse that. If Pakistan's prime minister had not caved in to US pressure, Pakistan could have been in a very strong position to force India to resolve the long standing Kashmir dispute.

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