Pakistan: A Hard Country

"So manifold and obdurate are the clichés [about Pakistan ] that you periodically need a whole book to shatter them. Lieven’s Pakistan: A Hard Country is one such blow for clarity and sobriety … [It] is refreshingly free of the condescension that many western writers … bring to Asian counties … Lieven overturns many prejudices, and gives general readers plenty of fresh concepts with which to think about a routinely misrepresented country. Transcending its self-defined parameters, his book makes you reflect rewardingly, too, about how other old, pluralist and only superficially modern societies in the region work … Easily the foremost contemporary survey of ‘collapsing’ Pakistan, Lieven’s book also contains some of the most clear-sighted accounts of ‘rising’ India.” (Pankaj Mishra, The Guardian, Apr 30)

“Everybody nowadays seems to take a view on Pakistan . Very few know what they’re talking about. Anatol Lieven is that rare observer – a scholar who writes like the best kind of foreign correspondent about a country that he takes and measures on its own terms. Pakistan: A Hard Country offers an intimate and compellingly relevant portrait of an increasingly pivotal nation to the future of the world, for better or for worse. It fills a large gap in our understanding.” (Edward Luce, author of In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India)

“A brilliantly articulated and researched argument … Lieven is a wonderful writer. There are frequent moments of dark humour … and descriptions that a novelist might envy.” (Kamila Shamsie, The Times)

“In this truly excellent work, Anatol Lieven … sets out to teach an often ignorant public, and their usually ignorant leaders, about this complex, crucial and troubled nation. The result is a highly readable and invigorating mix of academic analysis, history and ground reporting … The more people who read, enjoy and learn from this book, the better.” (Jason Burke, author of Al-Qaeda)