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

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  81 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
A journalist explores his family’s history to reveal the hybrid cultural and political landscape of Pakistan, the world’s first Islamic democracy
Shahan Mufti’s family history, which he can trace back fourteen hundred years to the inner circle of the prophet Muhammad, offers an enlightened perspective on the mystifying history of Pakistan. Mufti uses the stories of his an
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Other Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I am usually quite wary of non-fiction and the quiet boredom it instills in my story-loving soul but I bought this book after hearing of Shahan Mufti at the Lahore Literary Festival 2014. The annual book fair in Lahore offered a 15% discount on it, and the cover promised to reveal “a story of Islam, Pakistan, family and war.” I walked off with a staggering bill and a few other books. (For those of you who don’t know, the book costs Rs. 2695 in Pakistan…$26.95 in the US)

Upon finishing the brillia
Mar 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, pakistan
The author presents the history of Pakistan as it parallels the history of his family. The title and opening paragraphs imply that there will be a full sweep, but most if it relates to Pakistan (established 1947) as a nation. There is some content on the British colonial era, a bit on the partition and less on earlier times.

Rather than a chronology, the author presents content (both personal and national) as he learns about it. He starts by describing his earliest consciousness of history throug
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it

Finished this book this weekend in Rye, NH.

If I could recommend one book about family roots, Islam and an easy-to-read history about Pakistan, this is the one.

I enjoyed reading Shahan Mufti's "The Faithful Scribe." Mufti is an American, born in Ohio, and his family is from Lahore, Pakistan. His father taught at an Ohio college and Shahan went to Ohio public schools. Shahan's family relocates to Pakistan and so Mufti is in a new place and learns on the fly everything about his parents' homeland
Tariq Mahmood
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pakistan, usa
The book kept me glued to the pages, which was pretty commendable as the gist of the story was known to me and to every Pakistani. The Pakistani family as an institution has grown from strength to strength as the government writ has weakened. I guess the when any government grows weaker, other players will fill the vacuum created. The feudals together with the British laid the foundation of the state of Pakistan in 1947, hoping to keep the arrangement ticking with the new government of Pakistan. ...more
May 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013, arc
The Faithful Scribe is a story of Islam, Pakistan, family and war, the cultural and religious roots of modern Pakistan.

Shahan Mufti gives a complete history of the complicated country of Pakistan. He delves into how continued political and historical strife continues to plague the mesh of Islam and the West. Mufti notes the first Islamic Democracy has been subjected by periods of military rule, political instability and ongoing conflicts with neighboring India. Pakistan continues to deal with i
Sep 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Shahan Mufti has spent his life walking the line between two vastly different countries: the United States and Pakistan. Raised in Ohio by his parents who came to the US soon after their marriage, Mufti and his family return to Pakistan in his adolescence, the first in a series of moves between the two nations. When Mufti's work brings him to Pakistan to cover news of the Afghanistan War, he discovers documents from his ancestors that encourage him to dig into his family's past. He finds both an ...more
Sharmila Mukherjee
Dec 01, 2013 marked it as to-read
Born in Ohio, but raised largely in Lahore, Pakistan, Mufti frames this memoir as a response to a question his wife asked: "Why is Pakistan such a mess?" His talent for explaining the political through the personal--particularly the "tormented embrace" between his two home countries--benefits from the uncanny convergence of his family's milestones with Pakistan's: his parents married the day after India joined the 1971 war that bisected Pakistan; a cousin died in the 1988 plane crash that killed ...more
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
In reading this book, I learned how little I knew of Pakistan and Islam. I feel like I know a little more now. This is a captivating story of family and faith.
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
An endearing story from the start - from his parents marriage, the turmoil of moving away from the home country, and all the emotions that come along with political upheaval, family life and discovery. Though at times I found the narrative became a bit of a light history text, I realized all this was needed to set the backdrop of Shahan's and his family's story that was the foundation of this book. I was able to relate to it to an extent, both with being a student away from the home country, as ...more
Jun 26, 2016 rated it liked it
To be honest, this book was a bit of a letdown for me. In essence, this book read as a history book for an "Into to Pakistan" class. The history of Pakistan is amazingly important, and those of you looking for that kind of book would do well to pick this up. I was expecting a bit more of a personal perspective, however, maybe even an intimate portrait of the author's family over time, or even the author himself. As I paged through the book, though, the narrative to me seemed very detached and co ...more
Cathy Luh
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a great "memoir" by a 30-something who was born in Athens, Ohio, where his Pakistani dad was a teacher, and whose family moved back to Pakistan when he was in his pre-teens. So, he is fluent in both languages and cultures. He interweaves his family's stories with the history and politics of the country.

He paints a picture of a country that has been a war a great deal: wars with India, including the breakaway of Bangladesh. Also, the Russian and American wars in Afghanistan greatly disto
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
A couple of years ago I read A Hard Country by British journalist Anatol Lieven, which was enlightening aand well-researched, but also a little dry, and, well, completely depressing. The Faithful Scribe is an interesting counterpoint to Lieven's book, in that it comes at its subject matter from a much more personal perspective. Shahan Mufti is also a journalist, but was born in the US, grew up in Pakistan, and then moved back to the States for university. He's very much an insider both in the we ...more
Apr 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was not what I expected, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I did not know how new Pakistan is as a country, and the blending of the history of the country and the story of the author's family worked very well. It is also the story of someone with feet firmly planted in two very different worlds - the USA and Pakistan - and how that informs his views. This was a book club read and I'd highly recommend it for that - there's much to learn and discuss here.
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ncte, non-fiction
The interweaving of family history and national history is beautifully done, but there are slow spots.

I've passed this along to all of my LDers for this month's promotion of Middle East democracy topic.
Jun 03, 2014 is currently reading it
I don't know where I first read about this book or when but when it showed up in my holds at the library I figured there was a reason. I'm Bly 2 chapters in and I'm hooked. My kind of nonfiction.
Shafqat Mirbahar
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paperback
A very good book...
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
History of Pakistan and a family in readable form. Never felt like a slog. Definitely makes sense of the news and important for that reason.
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Demystifies modern Pakistan and its recent history. Told by an American journalist from a Pakistani family.
Sabahat Iqbal
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: south-asia
Great perspective of one Pakistani family to help shed light on one aspect of the chaotic and diverse web that is Pakistan.
Jenny Vavra
Jan 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel, history
Aside from one beautiful passage about the coming of the monsoon, I found this book dry. It did provide a decent quick overview if Pakistan's history.
Tina Fogg
rated it really liked it
Apr 02, 2013
Muhammad Jahangeer
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Aug 07, 2017
Sarah Gray
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Dec 15, 2014
Asim Jaweed
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Jan 21, 2014
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Mar 05, 2015
Ahmed Raza
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Oct 15, 2013
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Apr 09, 2014
Ken Leblond
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Jul 01, 2016
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Sep 21, 2013
Amelia Newcomb
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Jan 09, 2014
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