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In the Line of Fire: A Memoir
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In the Line of Fire: A Memoir

4.5 29
by Pervez Musharraf

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It is almost unprecedented for a head of state to publish a memoir while still in office. But Pervez Musharraf is no ordinary head of state. As President of Pakistan since 1999, his is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, and he continues to play a crucial role in the global war on terror. A one-time supporter of the Taliban, a general who fought in several


It is almost unprecedented for a head of state to publish a memoir while still in office. But Pervez Musharraf is no ordinary head of state. As President of Pakistan since 1999, his is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, and he continues to play a crucial role in the global war on terror. A one-time supporter of the Taliban, a general who fought in several wars, President Musharraf took a decisive turn against militant Islam in 2001. Since then he has survived two assassination attempts; rooted out militants in his own government; helped direct countless raids against al-Qaeda both in his cities and in the mountains; and tracked Osama bin Laden with technical and human intelligence. In the Line of Fire is astonishingly revealing and honest about dozens of topics of intense interest to the world. Among its many revelations: exactly how Pakistani authorities tracked down and smashed three major al-Qaeda control centres in the mountains; how al-Qaeda's many-layered structure was revealed after the assassination attempts; Bin Laden's current position within the al-Qaeda hierarchy; what it has been like to deal with Bush and Blair; how Pakistan and India have avoided nuclear confrontation; and much more. The terrible earthquake of 2005, killing nearly 40,000 Pakistanis, is just one chapter in a life and career that has been filled with danger and drama. The worldwide launch of President Musharraf's memoir promises to be a sensation.

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.

Product Details

Free Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(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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In the Line of Fire: A Memoir 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the first time,I read any biography,and I really like it. Personal,suspenseful,tragic at times hilarious.Good job!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Its been ages that read a book or two but when I got this book and started reading, I just couldn't stop. For the first time, someone has not only openly pin-pointed the reasons why we haven't progressed as we should have and how my country's political machinery is only working towards their personal gains and nothing more.. He openly admitted that he had to put 'Pakistan First' which has never been done before.. The ex-premiers both Nawaz Sharif n Benazir Bhutto have always put themselves first by robbing the country and taking bread out of the poors and building palatial palaces abroad. Before Musharraf came to power, Pakistanis has lost hope. I'm an extremely patriotic guy and I was hopeless too. But after he came to power and despite so many problems that he had to face at every front, there is hope now.. We can feel that despite everything Westerners may have been led to believe but there is a sense of change. Moderates who always kept quite are speaking out and taking Mullahs head on.. West may not like it that he's a military man but you need to see how he was forced into taking charge of this country. You may call him dictator of some sort but believe me, He's the best option we have. If he continues for atleast ten more years, I'm sure Pakistan will be a much different and prosperous place.. Inshallah..
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found the book to be very interesting, giving me insight into a man who is leading the war on terrorism as a head of nuclear muslim state. Don't rate the book 5 stars just because you are Pakistani and 1 star if you are indian. Read the book first. Since the book is about him, he has the right to say whatever he wants, if you don't agree write your own memoir regadless of being either Pakistan's opposition or being an Indain. I give this book two thumps up. Most of what he said about Kargil issue matches what the Austrailian writer Brian Cloughley wrote in his book A History of Pakistan Army.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though defensive of his actions and somewhat biased in his portrayal of an incorruptible military,the book is still an excellent insight into the workings of power in Pakistans political landscape.To his credit Musharraf demonstrates a degree of candor in explaining his international policy decisions.Overall an engaging book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is a true story of an honest man who want to help his country where opposition is an evil part of humanity and money/power hungry. i read the entire book and very much impressed. book has been written in very professional and interesting way which no leader has ever written.it has proved that musharaf is a media-charmmer. we need leaders like him all over the world. after reading this book non-muslims may have a different view about islam and my request to all indian readers , please be open mind and read as a neutral person. as musharaf has done too much good to india by making pakistan a stable country. pakistan was the poorest country in the world before musharaf took over and now pakistan is a donor country to like afghanistan and african countries. thats a big turn arround..iam impressed and so is my community in pakistan. musharraf has given a huge freedom to non-muslims in pakistan which no leaders have given us ever..God Bless him
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finally the truth comes out. Reader must keep a neutral mind when reading this book. The Indian readers need to keep their biased comments out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading the book. I would highly recommend this for book lovers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Pakistan¿s president says in his memoir that he had no choice after the Sept. 11 attacks but to switch from supporting the Taliban to backing the U.S.-led war on terror groups or face an American ¿onslaught.¿Gen. Pervez Musharraf, in his book ¿In The Line of Fire,¿ also criticizes the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, saying it has made the world ¿more dangerous.¿ Unusual in publishing a memoir while still in power, Musharraf says Pakistan, the United States and Saudi Arabia created an extremist 'monster' by supporting Islamic groups fighting the Soviet Union's 1979-89 occupation of Afghanistan. 'We had assisted in the rise of the Taliban after the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan, which was then callously abandoned by the United States,' Musharraf says. It was within this vacuum that Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida terror network strengthened, thanks to the support of the Taliban's leader, Mullah Omar, he adds.Pakistan saw the Taliban as a means to end years of chaos in Afghanistan, which peaked during the 1992-96 civil war, says Musharraf, who came to power in a 1999 coup. He says Islamabad also saw the Taliban as a counter to Afghanistan's Northern Alliance, which favoured Pakistan's rival, India. But after the Sept. 11 attacks, Musharraf says, he realized continuing to support the Taliban and have ties with militant groups would set Pakistan on a collision course with Washington. 'America was sure to react violently, like a wounded bear,' Musharraf writes. 'If the perpetrator turned out to be al-Qaida, then that wounded bear would come charging straight toward us.' The day after the suicide plane attacks, Musharraf says, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell telephoned with an ultimatum: 'You are either with us or against us.' The next day, he says, Powell's then deputy, Richard Armitage, telephoned the chief of Pakistan's top spy agency, the Directorate of Inter Services Intelligence, with an even sterner warning. 'In what has to be the most undiplomatic statement ever made, Armitage . . . told the director general not only that we had to decide whether we were with America or with the terrorists, but that if we chose the terrorists, then we should be prepared to be bombed back to the Stone Age,' He also worried about nuclear-armed India, with which Pakistan has fought three wars since their 1947 independence from Britain, including two over the disputed Himalayan region of now divided Kashmir. 'The Indians might have been tempted to undertake a limited offensive there (Kashmir) or more likely they would work with the United States and the United Nations to turn the present situation into a permanent status quo,' Musharraf writes. 'The United States would certainly have obliged.' He adds: 'It is no secret that the United States has never been comfortable with a Muslim country acquiring nuclear weapons and the Americans undoubtedly would have taken the opportunity of an invasion to destroy such weapons.' Musharraf says he thus cut Pakistan's support for the Taliban, despite a possible backlash from radical Islamic groups in his country. Why should we put our national interest on the line for a primitive regime that would be defeated?' he asks. 'Self-interest and self-preservation were the basis of this decision.' But Musharraf disputes Bush's argument that the world is safer following the invasion of Iraq, saying he opposed the war because he 'feared it would exacerbate extremism, as it has most certainly done. . . . The world has become far more dangerous.' Musharraf details some of the 670 arrests of al-Qaida suspects in Pakistan, including the killers of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl. But he also concedes al-Qaida and Taliban militants still operate in his country, while repeating his insistence that he has no knowledge of the whereabouts of top fugitives, including bin Laden and Omar. 'If I had to guess, I would assume that he (bin Laden) is moving back and forth across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border somewh
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
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 .
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.