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Pakistan: A Modern History
     

Pakistan: A Modern History

by Ian Talbot
 
In its 50 years of existence, Pakistan has been considered more or less a stepchild of India. At this time of its golden jubilee, it is a complex plural society experiencing rapid change. Here historian Ian Talbot attempts to clarify why democracy has succeeded in India, while Pakistan has been subject to long periods of authoritarianism.

Overview

In its 50 years of existence, Pakistan has been considered more or less a stepchild of India. At this time of its golden jubilee, it is a complex plural society experiencing rapid change. Here historian Ian Talbot attempts to clarify why democracy has succeeded in India, while Pakistan has been subject to long periods of authoritarianism.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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. (Nov.)
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.--Donald Johnson, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Minneapolis
From the Publisher

"Bound to become a standard reference among the watchers of South Asia."--Publishers Weekly
"...Essential reading for scholars and students seeking an informed narrative of Pakistani political history."--Journal of Asian Studies

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312216061
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan
Publication date:
10/01/1999
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
450
Product dimensions:
5.94(w) x 8.76(h) x 1.40(d)

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Meet the Author

Ian Talbot is Senior Lecturer in History at Coventry University.

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