A Brief History of Pakistan By James Wynbrandt (Book review)

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Syed Tahir Rashdi

In the course of a few years, Pakistan has assumed strategic importance on the world stage, acting as both a linchpin in the global war on terrorism and a “swing” state in the ideological conflict between democracy and dictatorship, and between Islamic and secular rule. How did this poor country come to occupy such a position in little more than half a century of existence? What are the historical precedents for its present course? And what can we learn from its past that can help us evaluate the prospects for its future? A Brief History of Pakistan presents a concise yet thorough account of this land whose past as a birthplace of civilization is as important to world history as is its pivotal place in contemporary geopolitics. Coverage includes the dramatic events, notable people, and special customs and traditions that have shaped this country. By illuminating the nation’s past, this book gives students a detailed perspective of Pakistan today and enables them to intelligently consider how it might change in the future. “A Brief History of Pakistan” By James Wynbrandt, a decent and concise account of Pakistan’s history with brief insight into the history of the subcontinent. I usually prefer a foreign commentator on national politics/events because of their neutrality and unbiased perspective. Book states historical events in country’s past in a text book manner and remains brief in details as is evident by the title of the book. All in all, A Brief History of Pakistan is a good book on country’s history and can serve as a guide for anyone interested in the subject. James Wynbrandt, a writer and journalist, is the author of A Brief History of Saudi Arabia for Facts On File and Flying High, a biography of JetBlue founder David Neeleman. Wynbrandt began studying Arabic in Damascus before continuing study on that region’s language and history at New York University’s Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies. As a journalist, his work has appeared in The New York Times, Management Review, Forbes, Smithsonian Air & Space, and many other national publications. He lives in New York City. A Brief History of Pakistan By James Wynbrandt, a concise but detailed account of Pakistan’s history. Most works on Pakistan’s history are overwhelmingly about its recent history (relating to its partition) or is simply stuffed in textbooks with India’s. Not this one. The book covers the history of Pakistan from antiquity up to the present day. It focuses much more deeply on the impact of Islam and the subsequent unique Islamic history of the nation. Other invaluable features include comprehensive appendixes that contains a glossary, facts about Pakistan, a short timeline, and a very extensive bibliography for further reading. All this is further supplemented with many maps, illustrations, and photos. This book successfully tells the full story of a nation and region that is often overshadowed by its neighbors and recent history. It’s a informative, stimulating, and readable book that anyone even remotely curious about Pakistan should read. This book presents the major events, people, and traditions that have shaped Pakistan.””A Brief History of Pakistan”” presents a concise yet thorough account of this land whose past as a birthplace of civilization is as important to world history as is its pivotal place in contemporary geopolitics. Coverage includes the dramatic events, notable people, and  special customs and traditions that have shaped this country. By illuminating the nation’s past, this book gives readers a detailed perspective of Pakistan today and enables them to intelligently consider how it might change in the future.Coverage includes: The land and its people; The Indus Valley Civilization; The Vedic Age in Pakistan; The Mogul Period; British rule; The struggle for independence; Partition; Civilian and military rule; Islamization of Pakistan; Pakistan under Pervez Musharraf; Relations with the United States, India, and Afghanistan; Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program; and, Secular/Islamic tensions.