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The Unraveling: Pakistan in the Age of Jihad

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  59 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
How did a nation founded as a homeland for South Asian Muslims, most of whom follow a tolerant nonthreatening form of Islam, become a haven for Al Qaeda and a rogue's gallery of domestic jihadist and sectarian groups?

In this groundbreaking history of Pakistan's involvement with radical Islam, John R. Schmidt, the senior U.S political analyst in Pakistan in the years before
ebook, 288 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Dec 18, 2013 Khalid rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: research
I am not impressed with The Unraveling. It is a biased review of one person's own personal impressions, backed with diplomatic language from the US State Department. I picked up the book during a trip thinking that it would make a good addition to the research that I was doing on Pakistan's battle with extremist organizations, only to find that the writer put the entire blame for the problem at the feet of Pakistan's intelligence service that since 9/11 has been dogged by the US government.

He se
Rajat TWIT
Pakistan is a unique nation because of its many virtues. Many experts and think tanks consider it a failed nation, whereas a majority of the elite class in Pakistan still claims it to be an important nation for the world, because of their role in the fight against the Global terrorism after Sept 11 attack. The internal conflicts combined with the inept administration make the whole situation rather grim for the country.
The Unravelling, written by a retired US diplomat, has much good information
Ali Shahid
Sep 04, 2013 Ali Shahid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The good part begins with the appraisal of Pakistani Jihadi organizations, like Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar e Tayyaba, Jaish e Mohammad, Sipah e Sahaba, Harkat ul Mujahideen, Lashkar e Jhangvi (to name a few) in a simple and clear manner. The author links these organizations to their denominational connections, parent groups and their founding leaders in explaining their genesis. I felt the book is written to an Indian audience as its revolting and repulsive to read through intense anti Pakistan ...more
False Millennium
The best book I have read so far this year. I've been raving about it and telling friends about it. If you ever thought you could never understand what is going on in Pakistan or Afghanistan, you must read this book. Yes, even a speed reader like myself was slowed down by all of the names and titles and places. I made heavy use of the map in front. I wished he had two maps that included several places he mentions, but don't show on the map. I also wished he had added a section in the back to cla ...more
David Bales
Aug 05, 2012 David Bales rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Extensive, worrying look at how Pakistan has "unraveled" and descended into chaos and violence since its inception in 1947; has good background to Pakistani history from independence to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, and the subsequent years of U.S. military aid. Details the shenanigans that Pakistan has been involved in from the Mumbai massacre to stoking the flames in Kashmir to their support of the Taliban. Eyes glaze over from the constant in-country factional disputes by the la ...more
Jan 25, 2012 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Former US State Dept officer to Islamabad writes a fast-paced, concise, and contemporary description of Pakistan's disintegration. From feudal domestic politics to double-dealing on Afghanistan, the author makes complex problems somewhat easy to understand, although I'm not sure anyone anywhere understands well enough to know what to do next to improve life for Pakistanis as well as Afghans and Americans. I needed a program of some kind to keep track of the numerous Jamaats, Lashkars, and Talibs ...more
Sean Dhaliwal
Aug 25, 2012 Sean Dhaliwal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to get a good understanding of Pakistan and it's current problems, you have to read this. Schmidt draws on his extensive experience as a state department worker to provide an insight for the rest of us into modern Pakistan. This is a very relevant book that explains the myriad issues plaguing the South Asian nation in an easy to read way. Quite simply, a must read.
Well, that was a depressing refresher on Pakistan. A particularly interesting book to read after Fatima Bhutto's memoir -- this book is far more nuanced. It also gets a little dizzying when detailing how group A split into groups B and C, which spawned Group D, which started shooting at Group E ...

Important and enlightening, and far too real.
Mathangi Keshavan
Jan 06, 2013 Mathangi Keshavan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you want to understand how Pakistan has become the kind of country it is today, I highly recommend this book. The author unfolds the country to us from the very start of its formation. Unfortunately, the copy of book I had did not have a map which would have made it a lot more easier to picturise!
Nov 02, 2011 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting and insightful look into the political situation in Pakistan. At the end the author takes a look at the possible futures for Pakistan. I was a little disappointed because the book didn't include a map of the area or a glossary for some of the abbreviations for the various groups
Anwar Ali
very authentic description of events and formation of terrorist organizations i have ever studied and very concise overall good book to read about pakistan situation and its
Dec 24, 2012 Matthew rated it it was amazing
An excellent book about the past, present, and future of Pakistan, and the bind that they've put themselves into.
Jan 27, 2012 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good easy to read and understand account of Pakistan and US-Pakistan relations.
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John R. Schmidt is the author of The Unraveling. He teaches at the Elliott School for International Affairs at George Washington University. He served in the State Department during a thirty-year service career, including as Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad in the years leading up to 9/11.
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