The Faithful Scribe: A Story of Islam, Pakistan, Family, and War

Other. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9781590515051. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781590515068. HIST
Mufti (journalism, Univ. of Richmond), a journalist who has covered Pakistan, intertwines his family's history with that of Pakistan's as a nation. His main narrative starts when his parents got married in 1971 on the day that India and Pakistan went to war. His U.S.-educated father moved the family to the States when political conditions in Pakistan became increasingly Islamist. They went back to Pakistan when they perceived that Americans had become less tolerant of Muslims in the wake of the 1979–81 Iranian hostage crisis. The author returned to the States to attend boarding school and then college and, as a journalist, ended up shuttling between Pakistan and America. While Mufti's intent here is to illuminate Pakistan's intricate history by tracing that of his own family, most of the time the personal and the historical are disconnected, with neither narrative unfolding chronologically. The onus is on readers to cope with gaps in time and keep track of dates. A time line of major events, historical and personal, would have helped, as would a table of contents, endnotes, a bibliography, and an index.
VERDICT Recommended, with reservations, for those interested in Pakistan's history or in how political decisions impact citizens.
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