- By Britt PetersonBritt Peterson is deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy.
This week’s list collects the best recent nonfiction about one of the most complex and misunderstood countries in the world, from Fatima Bhutto, niece of Benazir Bhutto and author of the forthcoming Songs of Blood and Sword.
Mubashir Hasan, Mirage of Power
Dr. Hasan is a national treasure — a founding member of the Pakistan People’s Party (in its original, leftist socialist form), former finance minister, founding member of the Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy, and a committed social activist. This book offers a rare insight into the power of the Pakistani civil and military establishment during its first democratically elected government, and takes apart the International Monetary Fund and its debt dealings with Pakistan, among many other hobgoblins.
This Pakistani newspaper takes no prisoners, most of the time. The News took out full page ads against the Pervez Musharraf dictatorship, prints front page salvos every time the current Asif Ali Zardari government attacks the media and comes out with a new censorship initiative, has the best reporting from the northern fronts of the country in the form of brave and thorough journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai, and doesn’t let political politeness or friendships get in the way of their work. When the News is good, and allowed to operate freely, it’s really, really good.
Tariq Ali, The Duel
Pakistan and America’s dirty relationship archived by Pakistan’s foremost historian and political commentator. You don’t get much better than Ali when it comes to the murky waters of Pakistani politics.
Granta Magazine issue 112
The respected journal does a Pakistan issue, out in September. Fresh essays from Pakistani novelists, poets, and journalists with a few honorary Pakistanis in the mix. Daniyal Mueenudin, Kamila Shamsie, and more. Should be hard to find the words "most dangerous country on earth" — hopefully.
Basharat Peer, Curfewed Night
Understanding Kashmir is central to understanding Pakistan, the horrors of Partition, and the country’s relationship with India today. Peer, himself Kashmiri, chronicles life under the most militarized zone in the world. His writing is courageous, his style part memoir part reportage, and his politics passionate and critically argued — a must-read for anyone interested in South Asia.
Blake Hounshell is managing editor at Foreign Policy, having formerly been Web editor. Hounshell oversees ForeignPolicy.com and has commissioned and edited numerous cover stories for the print magazine, including National Magazine Award finalist "Why Do They Hate Us?" by Mona Eltahawy. He also edits The Cable, FP's first foray into daily original reporting, and was editor of Colum Lynch's Turtle Bay, which in 2011 won a National Magazine award for best reporting in a digital format.
Blake joined Foreign Policy in 2006 after living in Cairo, where he studied Arabic, missed his Steelers finally win one for the thumb, and worked for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Blake was a 2011 finalist for the Livingston Awards prize for young journalists for his reporting on the Arab uprisings, and his Twitter feed was named one of Time magazine's "140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011." Under his leadership, in 2008, Passport, FP's flagship blog, won Media Industry Newsletter's "Best of the Web" award in the blog category. Along with Elizabeth Dickinson, he edited Southern Tiger: Chile's Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future, the memoirs of former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
A graduate of Yale University, Blake speaks mangled Arabic and French, is an avid runner, and lives in Washington with his wife, musician Sandy Choi, and their toddler, David. Follow him on Twitter @blakehounshell.| Passport |