The Thrust of Pakistan’s Past
By Ian Talbot
Columbia University Press, 24.50, 224 pages
This is a good book in order to have the trajectory of events at your fingertips and reiterate the intersection of trends, but a casual reader is likely to need a different source in order to be drawn into the drama of the Pakistan experience. One has to do their own part to get through the academic vocabulary and conversation in Pakistan: A New History. A map is not included, which is one indication that the audience is expected to already have some familiarity, if not intimacy, with Pakistan. Instead of describing the atmosphere of different eras and places, the names-and-dates sentences are laid out – the information is good for you, but it is not fully prepared into an easily digestible form. From chapter three, the book is easier to follow chronologically, yet the opportunity that narrative gives for incorporating various Pakistani people’s perceptions is missed. Though author Ian Talbot points out in the beginning that Pakistanis’ history has rarely been approached on their own terms, and says at the end that civil society is “vibrant” in Pakistan and often neglected by scholars, this book is an account of the big players.
Reviewed By Sarah Alibabaie