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Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,460 Ratings  ·  214 Reviews
Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan in October 2007, after eight years of exile, hopeful that she could be a catalyst for change. Upon a tumultuous reception, she survived a suicide-bomb attack that killed nearly two hundred of her compatriots. But she continued to forge ahead, with more courage and conviction than ever, since she knew that time was running out—for the fut ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published December 23rd 2008 by Harper Perennial (first published 2008)
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Penny
Feb 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who knew I was reading Reconciliation, knew that this book was a tough read for me. First, I rarely read works of non-fiction, and second, I didn't know much about the Islamic world/history, though I was vastly curious. But there was something about Benazir Bhutto that really drew me in. After she was killed, I wanted to know more about her--this strong female figure, in a male dominated Muslim world.

I may not agree with everything she said but this book has done a few things for me:

1. I
...more
lp
Jun 21, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book thinking that Benazir Bhutto was going to be my hero but I was very disappointed. I know she is heroic and was a martyr for her cause -- Islamic Democracy -- and I wanted to know more about that. About how she promoted women and freedom and voice to the people of Pakistan. I loved to hear about her optimism about how Islam is a peaceful religion that has been hijacked by extremists who stray from the real messages of the Quran. That message was pounded into my brain at my l ...more
Tracy
Feb 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Tracy by: the Daily Show with Jon Stewart
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bob
I really wanted to like this book more than I did.

Unfortunately, the author spends most of chapter 2 quoting passages from the Quran in an attempt to prove that Islam is not a violent or mysogynist religion. Like trying to read the Bible, this just made my eyes glaze over (MEGO).

Now I don't pretend to know a lot about Islam. But when her interpretation of the evidence is along the lines of "a close reading shows that it does not advocate violence against people of the book, only those who reject
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Mehwish Mughal
I read Benazir Bhutto's daughter of the East first, which was published in 1989. The Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West was published in 2008. An approximate 19 years gap between the two books. Daughter of the East voiced the ideas in the capacity of a daughter whereas this book in comparison was written by a transformed intellectual visionary.

This book is divided into 6 chapters. The first chapter deals with Benazir Bhutto's return to Pakistan from her political exile and the failed
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Rachel
I picked up this book thinking "Yeah! A Muslim woman's perspective on Islamic culture and the West. And she was even prime minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. She ought to have a ton of insights." Sadly, my enthusiasm was short-lived. This book had many interesting parts, but ultimately ended up being unpersuasive and tedious for a few reasons.

First of all, I am skeptical of anyone who gives one verse of a holy scripture, explains how it supports their point of view and moves on withou
...more
Libby
Jan 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
FTC NOTICE: Purchased Book, 2016 Library Thing Santa Thing

REVIEW: "I return to Pakistan after eight years abroad on October 18, 2007, and was greeted in Karachi by crowds estimated by Sindhi press and party officials to be up to three million people. It was a moment I have dreamt of for so many years. I was overwhelmed by emotion as I touched the land of my birth and saw the love of the people. It was a love I returned with all my heart and soul.  Politics started out as a duty for me. Over the
...more
Rhonda
May 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, politics
I wasn't sure what to make of this book the first time I looked at it. For lack of a better term, I thought of it as an idealistic rant, albeit truly heroic and well written. The problem was that I had already read The Clash of Civilizations by Samuel Huntington and frankly I thought he was pretty much correct. Even if he wasn't, I had no doubt that dippy Islamist control freaks were set on molding the relatively ignorant masses to their way of thinking. As a matter of fact, that is one view I h ...more
Rebekka Steg
I felt that Reconciliation could've/should've been divided into at least 2, maybe even 3 separate books. A huge chunk in the middle deals with Pakistan's history and seems almost autobiographical, since the author and her family has played a huge role therein. Though interesting on it's own, it's hard to see the relevance and the connections to the rest of the book, dealing with other Muslim democracies and how to reconcile the East and the West. Also, I have no doubt that the way she portrays P ...more
Jennifer
Apr 12, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those seeking an intro to Islam, democracy, and the west -- in theory and modern practice
Bhutto presents arguments from the Quran favoring the compatibility of Islam and democracy, and she identifies the main center of gravity against terrorism as an intra-Muslim struggle for the future of Islam.

She calls on Western countries to support Muslim progressive reformers, and stop supporting governments which oppress and restrict these Muslim progressive reformers.

Main drawback (why I gave it only 3 stars) is that it is unevenly written. For example, it includes chatty, hyper-detailed, i
...more
Madhura
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Whether or not you agree with her views, it is 100% worthwhile reading the views of a well-educated muslim woman prime minister of a muslim nation about democracy-a political structure which has very little place in the current muslim world. Her scholarly and systematic approach to this topic cannot be ignored. Much of the writing comes from her own experiences in life and her interpretations of the Quran, but she also heavily refers to the political history of various muslim nations. Her convic ...more
Josh
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-this, islam
The bravery and intellectual strength of Benazir Bhutto, martyred two-time Prime Minister of Pakistan, combine to create a powerful and compelling book about the promise of democracy in the Islamic world.

Bhutto finished the book just before she was murdered. Her gospel message of reconciliation, which is both morally forceful and intellectually strong, is the very message her murderers would like to have silenced in 2007. However, events on the world stage since 2007 have proven that her message
...more
Cindy Leighton
Benazir Bhutto finished this book just months before her assassination. She fights against the "clashers" who insist Islam and democracy can not coexist and predict no end to the fight between Islam and the West. In contrast Bhutto insists "extremism thrived under dictatorship and is fueled by poverty, ignorance and hopelessness." She quotes extensively from the Quran to show the beauty and acceptance of diversity put forth in the Quran.

I can't begin to do this book justice in a short review -
...more
Mike
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a "must read" for all who wish to become more informed on the issues facing the world regarding differences between Islam and the western world.

Ms. Bhutto explains in a most articulate and intelligent fashion why she believes that Islam and democracy are compatible. Her background as Prime Minister, her Harvard education, and her natural ability to express complex philosophies in a manner which can be understood by almost everyone, serve her well as she put forth reason after reason
...more
Scotty Cameron
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed that the author took the time to explain cultural differences between Christians and Muslims. Then she put into context the geopolitical situations that are causing the troubles of today.

A very educational read from a unique point of view. Very recommended.

Scotty Cameron
Kristin Brown
Apr 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Non-extremist views of Islam and how f-up the US is politically.
Emily
Jul 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Bhutto is a woman whose words and story make me love her. In this book she writes clearly but often very academically, dryly, and repetitively about what is important to her. She talks about what Islam means to her, and her interpretation is liberal and beautiful. Islam, in her understanding, means to submit to Allah. It's your quintessential monotheistic religion. However, interpretation of the faith and of its holy book varies wildly. Bhutto believes that Islam calls for peace, for tolerance o ...more
Julie H.
May 27, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
What an interesting book! While I've categorized it as a biography, it's really much more of an extended position paper from Bhutto to the world. In it, she wishes to make three main points. Those points are that: (1) while there is considerable diversity within Islam (as is true for any of the "big three" monotheistic faiths), in recent years it has been hijacked in a manner of speaking to achieve particular anti-Western political ends; (2) that Islam and democracy, the West, and modernity (esp ...more
Lakshana
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the larger part, this is one fine book. The writing is clear, crisp and eloquent. I wish translated copies would be made readily available for dissemination in the Islamic world, where I think it can have the most powerful effect.

Particularly noteworthy in the text is Ms Bhutto's 1) call for mutual understanding, 2)refutation of Huntington's doom & gloom thesis
and 3)(my favourite, peppered throughout)steadfast belief in the self determination of the Muslim world(a stark and much needed
...more
Sushila
Jan 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is divided into six chapters that are quite distinct. It's almost like reading six separate well-written articles. The first half of the book is fantastic. My favorite parts are when Bhutto analyzes Islam and the Koran and relates it to modern life. She is incredibly knowledgeable and it's refreshing to hear a modern person living in the outside world, as opposed to some hermetic cleric, offer her interpretations. The parts where Bhutto relates a brief history of Islamic nations, inclu ...more
Kim
Feb 16, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Biggest revelation was that if Bhutto represents the 'moderate' view in the Islamic world, then we really do have a lot to fear. She does not place all the blame at the feet of the West but she repeatedly states that there is plenty of blame to go around, and she seems to spend more time talking about how the West has failed in its approach to the Islamic world than how the Islamic world had failed itself. It is nice to hear a non-American point of view, and whether all her truths are truths or ...more
Natasha
Dec 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
best quotes:

"...and even if the West bears responsibility for the lack of democratic political development in the Islamic world, at some point responsibility and accountability rest with us. If democracy is to take hold among the billion Muslims on this planet, the movement must come from our people standing up to the forces of extremism, fanaticism, and authoritarianism within our own societies."

"We need a powerful, heavily networked international group aggregating activist women's groups throu
...more
Emily
Jul 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
A must-read for those who are open to understanding the history and challenges faced by Islamic nations . Benazir gave her life to forge democracy and equality in Pakistan. She uses the Koran to illustrate that democracy and Islam fit perfectly together, and that Islam is at its roots an accepting and pluralistic faith.
Marwa Shafique
A great and insightful book on how Islam and democracy are corelated and how much democracy is needed to flourish as a country. At a few places I did feel as if I was reading my 10th grade History book, and I probably would've enjoyed it more had I had a deep interest in politics and things alike. Nonetheless, I don't regret picking it up.
Norman
Nov 29, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Benazir Bhutto was Pakistan's 11th Prime Minister, and she was a fervent advocate for democracy and women's rights. She was assassinated on December 27th of 2007, and in this book she writes of her experience surviving a previous assassination attempt (a selling point, but not a focal point of the book), her overall views on the world, and her ideas for change.

Unfortunately, though it's hard not to feel for her and her people's struggles, I was distracted as I found her tone to be overly apolog
...more
Rahim
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
I was born in Pakistan and lived there until age 16, and therefore, unlike many readers, I read this book from a different perspective and have a different take on it.

Before I delve into the review, I just want to state that this book is not a biography of Benazir Bhutto. And even though the title explicitly states the obvious, I picked up this book expecting a life story of her. The focus of this book is about the education of sensitive topics about Islam and to provide a case for a secularism
...more
Eric
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bhutto lays out here reasoned plea for reconciliation and understanding between Muslims and the West. I did get just the tiniest bit nervous once or twice as she tried to make the connections more explicit between poverty and ignorance and their relationship to the roots of terror - what about those middle class and even well-off radicalized fanatics? - but most of the time her rationale for education for women and your made perfect sense as antidotes for much of what ails in the Islamic world. ...more
Margaret
Mar 02, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
First, have to say: Benazir Bhutto clearly had clanking brass balls. She went back to Pakistan knowing that a lot of people-many well organized and well financed-wanted to kill her. And that her political rival wasn't likely to lift much of a finger to protect her. And she went back anyway. Way to wear your ovaries on the outside.
So...she's a baller and one shouldn't speak ill of the dead, but....Christ what a shit book. She talks about the people of Pakistan as though they are her serfs.
She ta
...more
Amit Sharma
While I admire Benazir Bhutto as a leader and I think she was the best Pakistan ever had I do not agree with certain things in the book. In one of the chapters it is conveyed that the religion was at its zenith then slowly the tribal values crept in and then it began to lag behind other religions. I think this is a simplistic explanation. In every instance she tries to decouple the followers from the religion potraying one perfect and other flawed. This view also has a shred of defensiveness and ...more
Laura
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pakistan
It was so great to read more about this woman who was such a force in Pakistan. It was amazing how eloquent she was in discussing islam, democracy and women's rights. I also appreciated the review of Pakistan's history ( although she at time appears to blindly idealize her father, the idea of Pakistan and her own role in Pakistan politics). The reason I could not rate it higher was the writing. It was as though it never got the proper editing. The chapters have several different styles and some ...more
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Benazir Bhutto was a Pakistani politician who chaired the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), a centre-left political party in Pakistan. Bhutto was the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state, having twice been Prime Minister of Pakistan (1988–1990; 1993–1996). She was Pakistan's first and to date only female prime minister.

Bhutto was the eldest child of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a P
...more
More about Benazir Bhutto...