Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Lieven (Chechnya), who has reported on Pakistan Kindle Store · Kindle eBooks · Politics & Social Sciences . Read "Pakistan: A Hard Country A Hard Country" by Anatol Lieven available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first. In this remarkable book Anatol Lieven, who lived and worked in Pakistan for written with deep understanding and affection for the country' Christina Lamb.
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Pakistan: A Hard Country by Anatol Lieven. Read online, or download in secure EPUB format. In the past decade Pakistan has become a country of immense importance to its region, the United States, and the world. With almost million people. Pakistan A Hard Country Authored by Anatol Lieven. In this book the author takes the reader on a revealing journey through that troubled country. Departing.
The picture is one of a semi-anarchic nation mired in police savagery, institutional corruption, population bulges, water shortages and the risk of catastrophic environmental disaster following last year's floods. A Hard Country manages to be clear-headed and realistic, a welcome respite from the scare-mongering that taints so many western accounts of Pakistan.
Anatol Lieven knows, and it shows in this work. To this ambitious task the author brings both thoroughness and an impressive familiarity with his subject. A Hard Country' in one line I would say it is brilliant. The book is well researched, informative, insightful, but most of all for a country that finds itself often in headline news for the wrong reasons, empathetic. A Hard Country, Lieven argues that while the state is weak, Pakistani society is immensely strong. A Hard Country is one such blow for clarity and sobriety… Lieven overturns many prejudices, and gives general readers plenty of fresh concepts with which to think about a routinely misrepresented country.
Fortunately, Pakistan: Moreover, he clearly loves the place and its people. A Hard Country is the work of one of those rare writers able to see his subject in all its complexity, without either turning away or becoming a partisan of one perspective or the other.
Lieven's book is an ambitious and much-needed attempt to bridge it. The most striking thing about the book is its informed and consistently sensible tone. This tone is not heard much in discussions about Pakistan, and it is refreshing.
Lieven writes in an affable, conversational voice, but not a casual one. His observations are precise and judicious. He raises hope, avoiding the hysteria and partial judgment that disfigure much contemporary writing on the subject. Above all, he emanates a deep affection bordering on love for the unfortunate, beleaguered, magical Pakistan. Economist , April 7, "Yet for drama, colour and complexity, [Pakistan] is hard to beat; and Anatol Lieven captures the richness of the place wonderfully.
His book has the virtues of both journalism and scholarship A Hard Country, could not be timelier. This insightful, comprehensive portrait of Pakistan is the perfect antidote to stereotypical descriptions of the country as the most dangerous place in the world… Pakistan: A Hard Country has the power to dampen the paranoia about Pakistan's security complex, put terrorism in perspective, and humanize Pakistanis.
Threaded throughout are the voices of ordinary Pakistanis farmers, politicians, spooks, landowners, businessmen, soldiers, judges, clerics and jihadis whose contributions in the form of direct quotes enliven and illuminate this complex yet affectionate portrait of their country.
Published just before bin Laden s death, the book does not read as if it has been overtaken by events. Indeed, its textured, penetrating survey of the dynamics shaping contemporary Pakistan could hardly be more timely, given the relative dearth of literature on the subject. Lieven makes a compelling case for why we should pay more attention to what is one of the most important but least understood countries in the world.
See all Editorial Reviews. Product details File Size: PublicAffairs; 1 edition March 6, Publication Date: March 6, Sold by: Hachette Book Group Language: English ASIN: Enabled X-Ray: Not Enabled. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention hard country anatol lieven pakistani society point of view global warming united states easy to read war on terror well researched punjab and sindh tribal areas well written highly recommended pakistan is a hard terrorist attacks foreign policy required reading failed state country between people reading this book.
Showing of 53 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified download. But that's me. And, I reckon that that's true of Lieven too. But that's not to take anything away from the great work that this book is. It is neatly, to the extent possible, divided in themes - introductory, evolution of Pakistan as a nation state; societal structures: In chapter after chapter, Lieven weaves - for writes seems terribly limiting - the Pakistani experiences together.
The fact that stitching these isolated insights into a coherent model of a country remains a painstaking task says more about the country than about the book. Should Understand Better. Paperback Verified download. This book is a truly illuminating study of modern Pakistan, a very large country about which far too little seems to be generally understood by U.
Instead, it is a highly complex amalgam of many different societies, where strong divisive pressures strain against powerful unifying forces. One of those is a broad anti-Americanism among the Pakistani people, due in large part to U. In regard to Pakistan, Lieven argues, those policies should be reconsidered, given the long-term risks of increasing Pakistani instability. Anatol Lieven is admirably qualified to deal with the topic: His book combines the readability and color of good journalism with the thorough research of scholarly work.
It is also based on extensive interviews with many Pakistanis from all walks of life, and all regions of the country, which gives it an engrossing human dimension. The book starts off with an overview of the Pakistani system, which he describes as "weak state, stong societies".
He examines the critical role of kinship and patronage relationships, from an anthropological as well as a political view.
And he briefly reviews Pakistan's history since Partition. Here, I found myself turning to Wikipedia etc. Next, he turns to the basic structures of modern Pakistan -- justice, religion, politics, and above all the military -- devoting a chapter to each. In each, he looks at the social and ethnic differences within and between regions, and at how that is reflected politically.
The final section is on the Taleban -- the Afghani Taleban, the Pakistani Taleban, and the attitude of Pakistan's people and government to both. In his conclusion, Lieven says that "it has been above all the US-led campaign in Afghanistan which has been responsible for increasing Islamist insurgency and terrorism in Pakistan since ".
Earlier, he has established that insurgency as perhaps the most critical problem facing Pakistan's government. All in all, I found this a very informative, interesting, and readable book, which I would strongly recommend to anyone interested in South Asia, or, indeed, in US policy. One person found this helpful. See all 53 reviews. site Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.
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In the past decade Pakistan has become a country of immense importance to its region, the United States, and the world. With almost million people, a ,man army, nuclear weapons, and a large diaspora in Britain and North America, Pakistan is central to the hopes of jihadis and the fears of their enemies. Yet the greatest short-term threat to Pakistan is not Islam In the past decade Pakistan has become a country of immense importance to its region, the United States, and the world.
Yet the greatest short-term threat to Pakistan is not Islamist insurgency as such, but the actions of the United States, and the greatest long-term threat is ecological change. Anatol Lieven's book is a magisterial investigation of this highly complex and often poorly understood country: Engagingly written, combining history and profound analysis with reportage from Lieven's extensive travels as a journalist and academic, Pakistan: A Hard Country is both utterly compelling and deeply revealing.
Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. Published April 12th by PublicAffairs first published April 1st More Details Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about Pakistan , please sign up. Umair This book gives an in-depth analysis of the mechanics of the Pakistani society and establishment. It gives very solid reasons as to why Pakistan is so …more This book gives an in-depth analysis of the mechanics of the Pakistani society and establishment. It gives very solid reasons as to why Pakistan is so resilient despite such devastating events, which would have dismantled the social fabric in any other nation.
It also explains how Pakistan is different from the West and why the West has so many misunderstandings about this country. See all 4 questions about Pakistan…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. It is almost obligatory these days to subtitle books on Pakistan with some conjunction of 'failed', 'dangerous', 'lawless', 'deadly', 'frightening' or 'tumultuous'. Pakistan is a 'tinderbox', forever on the brink, in the eye of the storm, or descending into chaos.
It is an 'Insh'allah nation' where people passively wait for Allah. In the narrow space 'between the mosque and the military', there is much 'crisis', 'terrorism', 'militancy' and 'global jihad. A Hard Country' eschews emotion for description, which is fitting because the book is a page myth- busting exercise.
Lieven, currently a fellow at the New America Foundation, argues that some of the alarmist claims about Pakistan are indeed true - it is a corrupt, chaotic, violent, oppressive and unjust country. But it is also a remarkably resilient one. It is not nearly as unequal as India or Nigeria, or for that matter the United States.
Its security is beset by multiple insurgencies but they affect a smaller proportion of its territory than the ones India faces. Its cities are violent, but no more so than those of comparable size in Latin or even North America. It has an abysmally low rate of tax collection, but, at five percent of the GDP, it also has one of the world's highest rates of charitable donations. It is no doubt corrupt, but this is due less to the absence of values than to the enduring grip of the old ones of loyalty to family and clan.
Beneath the chaotic surface, the country is held together by the underlying structures of kinship and patronage which account for its relative stability. Leaders of kinship networks derive their legitimacy from property ownership and the capacity to provide protection and patronage to followers.
This creates a degree of accountability and wealth redistribution since in order to retain the followers' loyalty, leaders have to secure and distribute patronage - and in a country endowed with modest resources and decrepit industry, much of it is stolen from the state.
However, the same forces that ensure Pakistan's stability also impede its progress. The primacy of clan loyalty over civic responsibility has served as a barrier to the development of modern democratic institutions.
Both civilian and authoritarian military governments have been frustrated in their attempts at reform. Little changes whether the country is ruled by a dictator or a democrat, because both have to sit atop and draw support from the same pyramid of kinship networks.
The military, which functions relatively more efficiently than other institutions, has insulated itself against these forces by turning itself into the biggest kinship group of them all, securing itself the largest share of the state's revenues.
The economy to which Lieven unfortunately gives very little space becomes yet another victim of this system. Indeed, 'the most economically dynamic sections of the Pakistani population are those which have to a greater or lesser extent been shaken loose from their traditional cultural patterns and kinship allegiances by mass migration,' he writes.
These include the Muhajirs of Karachi and the migrants from East Punjab. Pakistan, writes Lieven, is a 'highly conservative, archaic, even sometimes quite inert and somnolent mass of different societies, with two modernizing impulses fighting to wake it up' - the Westernised liberals and the Islamists. Both have been stymied by the nature of Pakistani society as much as by the liberals' identification with the deeply-loathed United States and the Islamists inability to overcome the political quietism of the conservative, highly superstitious Islam practised by most Pakistanis.
In their confrontation with each other, both 'see the battle between them as apocalyptic, ending with the triumph of good or evil', yet their chances of success are equally grim. Lieven carefully unravels the various strands of Islamism and gives a measured assessment of their relative influence in Pakistan.
What is notable, he writes, is less the strength of Pakistan's Islamists than their weakness. The same kinship networks, loyalty to hereditary saints, and the potpourri of sects and sub-sects are barriers which also prevent the spread of Islamism.
With the partial exception of the Jamaat-e-Islami, he notes, Islamists have themselves been swallowed up by the patronage system. Lieven is concerned with the treatment of women in Pakistan, and some of the incidents he describes are horrific indeed. But unlike other Western commentators, he is careful to note that contrary to popular myth, the worst abuses against women are sanctioned by the traditional customary law rather than the Sharia.
The case of Mukhtar Mai's gang rape and the lesser known at least in the West story of the Baloch girls who were shot and buried alive for choosing to marry out of clan are instructive in this regard. Both were sanctioned by tribal customary law. However, Lieven notes that the murder of the Baloch girls somehow elicited far less outrage from Pakistan's liberal elite than an incident that happened around the same time involving the public flogging of a girl in Swat.
The outrage around that incident proved one of the catalysts for the subsequent military operation there. But Lieven fails to pursue the implications of this comment further.
Of course the reason why the Swat incident attracted more attention is that it had entered the 'war on terror' narrative where a whole industry has flourished, thriving on exaggeration and fear. Lieven rejects the alarmist claims which portray Pakistan as on the verge of Islamist takeover but warns that things would be less certain if the U.
The insurgency at present only affects a very small stretch of Pakistani territory and, as demonstrated by the offensive in Swat, it can be crushed when the state makes a determined effort. Lieven considers the Swat campaign a success but acknowledges that the terrorist threat in the rest of the country has increased.
But these are not simply parallel developments; there is a causal relationship between them. There was never any doubt that the Pakistani army had the capacity to crush the Taliban but the real question was always the costs and consequences of such an operation. Predictably, the use of blunt force has turned a geographically delimited insurgency into an amorphous terrorist threat against which the state can do very little.
Lieven is categorically opposed to military intervention in Pakistan and marshals some eminently reasonable policy recommendations in his brief conclusions.
For Lieven, Pakistan is resilient enough to survive the terrorist threat, but the danger which could really precipitate its collapse is climate change.
A country which receives at an average only mm of annual rainfall and is overly dependant on the Indus will be seriously at risk as its already large population grows further and water tables drop unless it makes efforts to better preserve its water resources and prevent waste.
Unlike most Western writers who go looking for interlocutors in their own image - secular, liberal, Westernised - Lieven's research includes a remarkable range of voices, including soldiers, Islamists, policemen, peasants, a president, and taxi drivers. He is sympathetic, but rarely credulous. He is particularly sceptical of the Pakistani elite - 'even, or especially, when their statements seem to correspond to Western liberal ideology, and please Western journalists and officials'.
Lieven brings an anthropologist's rigour, a journalist's intuition and a travel writer's descriptive power to a book which is perceptive, nuanced, and eminently readable. The book is illustrated with telling, sometimes amusing, anecdotes. But its greatest strength is that it shakes Westerners and Pakistanis alike from the complacent assumptions that underlie their respective political discourses. View all 6 comments. Mar 04, Tariq Mahmood rated it it was amazing Shelves: Undoubtedly the best analysis on Pakistan since a while by a serious British journalist.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and eagerly digested most of the arguments and facts with relish.
Just one little story from this gem of a book is Very well. We have a custom: Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And we will follow ours. Apr 26, Hadrian rated it it was amazing Shelves: Excellent and profoundly revealing book about Pakistan. Analyzes the diverse ethnic groups and demystifies them - their concerns are only too familiar.
Many deep-seated problems are shown here, but also the peerless endurance and strength of will of the people itself. Required reading for anybody who has an interest in curren Excellent and profoundly revealing book about Pakistan. Required reading for anybody who has an interest in current events.
Anatol Lieven is his highly acclaimed book, Pakistan: A Hard Country, takes every reader whether familiar with the cultural,social and anthropological dynamics of Pakistan or total ignorant on a journey which tries to understand how Pakistan does not move forward to progress and a question similarly opposite but often asked why Pakistan does not fail.
Questions and claims from the lens of western media has often portrayed a country strong with million peoples about to collapse often asking Anatol Lieven is his highly acclaimed book, Pakistan: Questions and claims from the lens of western media has often portrayed a country strong with million peoples about to collapse often asking 'Can Pakistan Survive' or bit more 'World's Most Dangerous Nation' but still astoundingly it moves on and in some instances better than the other countries in the region.
Credit must be given to the writer in examining in depth the social nuisances and kinship ties which forge the state and stop it from falling into the hands of religious fanatics and at the same time hamper it's progress and makes corruption rampant! As Anatol puts it the very reason Pakistan continues to survive in wake of other failed states with similar problems , are the reasons it cannot progress! A brilliant analysis which does not shy away from recognizing military's role in the country in it's many failings as seen by political eyes to the very reason the country stays stable and moves on.
Anatol must be given credit for his first hand account of many analysis and interviews forming the premise of book , a breath of fresh air from the myopic western analysts writing from the comfort of their safe homes abroad. A Hard Country, recognizes the successes and failure of a country full of dichotomies which keeps on surprising the west yet again through it's resilience , survival and relative success! A must read! View 2 comments. Mar 06, Salman Tariq rated it really liked it.
I disagree with writ Writer' choice of words is stinging some times, yet amusing. A sympathetic and ground-level portrayal of Pakistan. The author approaches the study Pakistan with a fresh look and without any patronising tone that is common to many western writers.
The best part of the book is where he presents a realistic picture of the ground realities of Pakistan's legal, economic, social, and cultural power structures and the opposing forces at work in this complex society. But there are plenty of flaws and blind spots in this work too. He presents an incomplete picture A sympathetic and ground-level portrayal of Pakistan.
He presents an incomplete picture especially regarding the Pakistan army and its history of asymmetric warfare. I had to laugh when he calls Pakistan army an "honest" force. He downplays the ideological fanaticism and the state of denial of the Pakistan army and the ISI, and the various strategic decisions that it led to with brutal repercussions.
But still a very insightful book as he portrays a flesh and blood picture of the Pakistani society based upon many ethnographic and first-hand sources, that destroys many stereotypical myths. And as he says, "Pakistan is in fact a great deal more like India — or India like Pakistan — than either country would wish to admit".
View all 4 comments. Jun 17, Zarish Fatima rated it really liked it. Would have given it complete 5 but there are few things which i cant just digest so. This is one of the most refreshing books I have read on Pakistan affairs. Well one can say it is one of the best written books in that department. That certainly does not mean everything is accurate or agreeable at times. This book really well, sums up Pakistan till Nothing much has changed since Would have given it complete 5 but there are few things which i cant just digest so.
Nothing much has changed since except that maybe time of early s may be returning, regarding our relations with India and USA. The terrorism situation since then has improved in some ways, in others, it probably has not. But morale definitely has improved and so has trust in army.
The most highlighted problems are ecological ones in the first few chapters. Especially water problems in Pakistan. The constantly decreasing water table, the floods and lack of dams and reservoirs in face of it.
He also shows his surprise at water wastefulness of Pakistanis, considering water shortage is drastically increasing. When an English tells you, you are wasting water considering he comes from country were it rains nearly one third of the year, we need to listen because he might have a point. He also runs comparison between, traditional law and Shariah. Something I was pleasantly surprised by. As he states: People move between these three codes depending on circumstances and advantage, often pursuing their goals through several of the simultaneously as well as through violence or more often threat of it.
The authorities which are supposed to implement the state law in conjunction with Shariah, very often end up following community law or even turning blind eye to violence. Often this is because they have been corrupted or intimidated but often, too, it is because the police concerned share the cultural attitudes of the populations from which they are recruited.
He also kind of denies the western views that Pakistan might suffer from Islamic revolution or some people who are afraid that Pakistan might me liberalized. It covers more or less all the plights of this nation on provincial level.
This book is solely about Pakistan and its coordination, within a province and between provinces. Also the provincial parties and their damaging roles. I mean they hardly ever play any other kind. The thing that most shocked me in this book was his take on MQM. It was most surprising. He nearly seems to be in awe of MQM. Which is little weird.
It is more of a middle class party to him. What he termed as modern urban politics.
Again maybe at that time period they were not so active. Also he does not believe in any speculations and against MQM, real evidence is hard to come by or did before Rangers. It is a form of religion that gives stability and comfort but is not fanatical, and is peace with itself — unlike our psychologically and culturally tortured liberals, and equally tortured Islamists.
This book is worth a read. Highly recommended, very well written done and one gets the feeling he gets Pakistani mentality, well he really tried to at least. View 1 comment. Mar 31, Fahad rated it it was amazing Shelves: I recommend this book to anyone who is tired of hearing about Pakistan as a failed state.
This book gives a realistic snapshot of what the recent political, social, and cultural situations are in Islamic Republic of Pakistan. I highly enjoyed reading a journalistic account of Pakistan with a sprinkle of history. For a non-Pakistani, or anyone not interested in political parties of Pakistan, it may feel like a bit of a drag. In my opinion, the author does both Pakistan and the West justice.
He is I recommend this book to anyone who is tired of hearing about Pakistan as a failed state. He is not particularly biased towards one view. This should serve as an excellent guide for anyone trying to look at Pakistan objectively, and as a primer for modern history of the South Asian region.
View all 3 comments. Apr 12, Bushra rated it really liked it. Superb analysis of Pakistan's history, politics, social norms and even insight into Pakistanis.
Have I missed anything? It's basically all one needs to know about about Pakistan. Lieven seem to know Pakistan than us Pakistanis. It's a shame that no Pakistani has written a neutral and candid analysis of Pakistan like that before. Dec 01, Mikey B. We are presented with a turbulent multi-layered portrayal of a country surrounded by enemies like India , unfriendly countries like Iran or failed states like Afghanistan. As Mr. Lieven points out there are so many disparate Islamic groups and ethnicities that it is a misconception of Western countries that Pakistan is on the verge of becoming an Islamic State like Saudi Arabia.
In fact, Pakistan is a veritable marketplace of different brands of Islam. They may be powerful in the ungoverned FATA and NWFP provinces, but aside from terrorist attacks they have not made significant inroads in the main provinces of Punjab and Sindh — actually the army has taken significant containment steps.
But this book still gives a gloomy view of the country — a state befuddled by corruption, patronage and an inept judicial system that inadvertently promotes Taleban quick justice. It is also a state swept up in delusional paranoia that believes, among other delusions, that the Sept.
It is ruled by fear from within — there is a separatist faction in Balochistan, the growth of fundamentalism in the Frontier areas. Also, all ranks of the population hate the U. Pakistan views Afghanistan as its own proxy state and fears any Indian influence their.
As per Mr. This is not a pretty picture — it is an extremely volatile mix. As I remarked at the beginning, we are given a view from the Pakistani perspective. Unfortunately, we on the outside, view Pakistan as a breeding ground for global terrorists — terrorists who move easily between Afghanistan and Pakistan. If Pakistan cannot control this, along with the madrassa schools of religious indoctrination, the West will likely continue to intervene militarily in this area.
This also needs to be coupled with humanitarian aid for both countries. I learnt much from this book. We are provided with a wide scope of vivid portraits.
The outlook given the illiteracy particularly of women and lack of broad-based education does not look promising. Lieven also warns us of the ecological disasters awaiting Pakistan, in a sense much more critical than the Islamic one, due to the rapidly expanding population.