Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi

Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi

by Steve Inskeep


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Morning Edition cohost Steve Inskeep presents a riveting account of a single harrowing day in December 2009 that sheds light on the constant tensions in Karachi, Pakistan—when a bomb blast ripped through a Shia religious procession, followed by the torching of hundreds of businesses in Karachi’s commercial district. Through interviews with a broad cross section of Karachi residents, Inskeep peels back the layers of that terrible day. It is the beginning, and a constant touchstone, in a journey across the city’s epic history and its troubled present Thrilling and deeply researched, Instant City tells the story of one of the world’s fastest-growing metropolises and the forces competing to shape its future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143122166
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/25/2012
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 794,876
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

STEVE INSKEEP is a co-host of Morning Edition, the most widely heard radio news program in the United States. After the September 11 attacks, he covered the war in Afghanistan, the hunt for al-Qaeda suspects in Pakistan, and the war in Iraq. He won a National Headliner Award for investigating a military raid that went wrong in Afghanistan; the Robert F. Kennedy journalism award for "The Price of African Oil," about conflict in Nigeria; and shared an Alfred I. Dupont award for The York Project, a groundbreaking series of conversations on race in America.  This is his first book.

Table of Contents

A Note on Spelling xi

North of North Karachi 1

Part 1 Jinnah Road

1 Promenade 7

2 Lighthouse 14

3 National Arms 27

Part 2 Landmarks

4 Jinnah's Tomb 43

5 Shrine and Temple 67

6 Ground Breaking 81

7 Self-Service Levittown 100

8 Casino 113

Part 3 New Karachi

9 Icon 139

10 Emergency Numbers 148

11 Airport Road 162

12 Parks and Recreation 180

13 Premier Lifestyles 199

14 Dreamworld 219

Part 4 Renew Karachi

15 Birds 235

A Note on Sources 247

Population of Selected Instant Cities 251

A Note on Population Figures 253

Notes 255

Bibliography 273

Index 277

What People are Saying About This

Shuja Nawaz

"Steve Inskeep has captured the vibrant, violent, pulsating rhythms of Karachi with a near native sensibility. His cinema verité prose brings you the sights and smells of this dystopian megalopolis on which the future of Pakistan may be riding. If Karachi can survive its violence and corruption, and thrive as a pluralistic city state then there is hope for Pakistan. If not, then the future is grim for this benighted land. Karachi represents the rich mosaic of Pakistan's different ethnic groups. It is the financial heart of a country whose instruments of state may be failing but whose inhabitants show great determination and creativity, surviving against all odds. Inskeep has written a worthy tribute to Karachi. He blends brilliant storytelling with an eye for detail and nuance that makes Karachi's sights and sounds come alive."--(Shuja Nawaz, Director, South Asia Center, Atlantic Council and author of Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within)

Martha Raddatz

"Steve Inskeep is a gifted writer and explorer who takes on life and death in Karachi like no other before him. The same mix of mesmerizing storytelling skills, journalistic integrity and downright courage that Inskeep brings us daily on NPR makes for a gripping read. You can hear Inskeep's inimitable voice on every page, excitedly guiding you through the rich and bloody history of this dangerous city. Most importantly, through a compelling cast of characters who help tell the story in such vivid detail, you realize how profoundly important this city is to us all." --(Martha Raddatz, ABC News Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent)

David Simon

"Urbanity is our certain and fixed future. How human beings live together—or fail to live together—compacted into great cities where a world's races, religions and ancestries share ever-tighter quarters—this is the fundamental question for the new century. With Instant City, Steve Inskeep tells the story of a single violent and volatile day in the teeming streets of Karachi, Pakistan. In doing so, he reveals what is now at stake not just for Pakistan, or Asia, but for the human species. This is thoughtful, important work."--(David Simon, creator of HBO's "The Wire" and "Treme" and author of Homicide and The Corner)

Steve Coll

"Steve Inskeep has written a magnificent, engrossing book about one of the world's most vivid and fascinating cities. His subject – urban Pakistan's struggles and zig-zagging achievements – is of deep and timely importance. His voice reflects the best traditions of politically alert travel writing, endowed with calm wisdom and curious empathy." --(Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars and The Bin Ladens)

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