ATP Reads: Your Favorite Books on Pakistan

Posted on January 26, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Books
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Adil Najam

We at ATP like books. Over the last many months we have featured and discussed a number of books that relate to Pakistan in various ways.

In the Name of HonorIn the Line of FireA Mighty HeartCharlie Wilson's WarShameful FlightFriends not MastersThe Sole SpokesmanPakistans DriftJinnah by WolpertGrieving ShiasJehlum: City of VitastaEdhiPortrait of a Giving CommunityBetween Mosque and MilitaryEqbal AhmedThree Cups of Tea

I must confess that I had always hoped that we would talk more about books than we have. I hope we will be able to do so in the future. As a step towards that goal, we would like to invite our readers to share with us your suggestions of books on Pakistan that are worth reading.

This is not a popularity contest. We have no awards to give. We merely want to collate a list of books on Pakistan that people consider to be interesting reads. Specially those that you would consider recommending to others for whatever reason.

We have only two criteria:

  • First, that the books you suggest must be about Pakistan, and significantly so. We, of course, realize that many Pakistanis read many books that are not about Pakistan, but the focus of this blog is not only on ‘All’ Things Pakistan, but also ‘Only’ things about Pakistan.
  • Second, for the purpose of this first exercise please restrict your suggestions to books in the English language. This is a pragmatic, and not an ideological, criteria. The universe of books in Urdu is much larger – especially when one includes works of fiction and poetry – and hopefully we will have a separate exercise on those. For now, we wish to start small by focusing only on English language books.

The plan right now is to make this post and list a standing feature and to keep adding to it as readers share their suggestions and ideas. Hopefully this will be a useful service to those interested in Pakistan and Pakistaniat.

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138 responses to “ATP Reads: Your Favorite Books on Pakistan”

  1. A. says:

    Speeches of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, 1947-1948, Oxford University Press (may only be available in Pakistan).

    “From Purdah to Parliament” by Shaista Suhrawardy (available at Amazon).

    Michael Palin has written a travelogue and a companion picture book (coffee table worthy) called “Himalaya” and “Inside Himalaya”. (Available at Amazon.)

    A new book that’s out: “City of Sin & Splendour: Writings on Lahore” (at Amazon).

    Are you including fiction?

  2. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:

    Lahore: The City Within by Samina Quraeshi with an essay by Annemarie Schimmel.

    Published by Concept Media, Private, Limited.
    1 Grange Road, #05-11/12 Orchard Building
    Singapore 0923
    First printing: September 1088
    ISBN:981-00-055-3

  3. Samdani says:

    Nice effort. But your assumption seems to be that we Pakistanis actually READ books. I am not sure they do. Many, in fact, talk about books as if they know everything in it because they know a title and who wrote it!

  4. The Pakistanian says:

    A Journey to Disillusionment by Sherbaz Khan Mazari. Perhaps a little biased but a great book to read about the post partition history of Pakistan.

  5. Samdani says:

    By the way, its already up on your list but I recently finished Charlie Wilson’s War. An extremely gripping story that was more captivating even than any novel. A must read.

  6. Jamshed Nazar says:

    I am a bit surprised trying to recall the good books that I have read about Pakistan. This is probably due to not giving much time to reading in the last few years.

    However, the few books that I liked,

    – Stanley Wolpert’s Jinnah of Pakistan

    – Sadeeq Saliq’s “Mien ney Dhaka dubtey dekha” translated to english, I think or was it origionally written in english?

    – Ayesha Jalal’s book providing an analytic thesis on Pakistan / forgot the name of the book

    – A book on ISI operations in afghanistan and russia / Written by Brig Yousuf ?? / ex ISI. forgot the name of the book

    – Journey through Pakistan – a collection of photography about the land and people of pakistan – author?

    – Emma Duncan / Christina Lambs books on pakistani society – forgot the names of the books

    It took me a bit of time out of high school to figure out all the rubish taught in school in the name of Pakistan history. Even after that, I find that there is so much nonsense written, specially in Urdu, about what Pakistan is / should be / would be – that atleast I lost interest reading such books.

    I did buy Musharaf’s book with a lot of interest. It is sure interesting, but could have been more creidble if Musharaf had written himself & minus the glowing tributes / self righteous comments. By the middle of the book, it is suspiciously similar to Ayub’s Friends not masters!

    Sorry for my limited contribution on this topic Adil.

  7. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:

    “Nice effort. But your assumption seems to be that we Pakistanis actually READ books. I am not sure they do. Many, in fact, talk about books as if they know everything in it because they know a title and who wrote it!”

    Now come on Samdani. Many of us actually do buy and read books. Some of us even write books. I wish more do so but that will come with education. Help our Young to be educated and encourage them to read. They will. Just like you and I do. I even know few Pakistani “medicine men” here in America who have read a book or two about Pakistan. Have hope.

  8. Samdani says:

    [quote comment=”36569″]- Ayesha Jalal’s book providing an analytic thesis on Pakistan / forgot the name of the book[/quote]

    The book you mention by Ayesha Jalal is called THE SOLE SPOKESMAN, its up there in the list of titles above.

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