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The Most Dangerous Place

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  134 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews

Seasoned journalist Imtiaz Gul exposes the dark side of the Afghan war and reveals how Pakistan degenerated into a nuclear-armed powder keg.

Eight years ago we chased the Taliban from Kabul and forced al-Qaeda to find a new home. One by one the militants crossed the border into Pakistan and settled in its tribal areas, building alliances with locals and terrorizing or bribi

ebook, 320 pages
Published June 10th 2010 by Penguin Group (USA) (first published June 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Jun 03, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I was really excited to read this book, which I won for free through Goodreads. What intrigued me was the description of the book as "a gripping and definitive exposé of a region that Americans need urgently to understand."

Honestly, this book was a difficult read for me. This is an in-depth look at Pakistani politics and terrorism, but I just didn't have the understanding/background to keep up with most of it. I did read the whole thing and there were things that I learned from the book:

*The S
Mikey B.
A few years ago a French newsmagazine also labeled Pakistan as the ‘Most Dangerous Country on the Planet’. The bleak portrait painted in this book bears this out.

After many years of supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan from their FATA region, these religious fanatics have boomeranged back into Pakistan with a vengeance. They have literally become a Frankenstein that has returned to devastate their creator.

The FATA territories are a free-for-all area between Pakistan and Afghanistan. They are te
May 28, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book in the Giveaways, for which I am grateful, but frankly, I find it unreadable. This is "advance uncorrected proofs" which need a lot of correction - appalling to think that any editor, for instance, has allowed a plural with an apostrophe before the s.

Even more than this, however, is that there is no clear flow. In chapter 2 for instance there is a description of how Al Qaeda grew in importance, but one paragraph is highly specific about how Al Qaeda approached individual tribes,
Jaime R
Jan 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to understand the significance of Pakistan in today's "war on terror" Gul's book is a must. (This and Steve Coll's Ghost Wars provide a very clear picture of why we are in the situation we are today and why it all could have been avoided. ) The continuum of Pakistan's uneasy partnership with the West and its ongoing distrust are explored from the days of the Soviet Union's misadventure in Afghanistan to today's nuclear reality. The book provides well researched journalism from someon ...more
May 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Won through Goodreads Giveaways...

My husband and I read this but he has the better viewpoint due to his military experience. I found it very interesting. My husband loved it and thought that it was amazing. He told me that it really hits a lot of truths about what's going on in the region. I applaud Imtiaz for telling the truth many may not want to hear.
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is no doubt that Imtiaz Gul has done immense research on lawless and inhospitable seven North-Western tribal agencies of Pakistan which are lumped together into Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and parts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province.

He gives a brief overview of these regions which are a hotbed of terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan as geographically speaking these regions are a haven for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and the porous border between Afghanistan and Pakista
Jul 21, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in learning about terrorism and religious militants
I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway and it complemented my current military studies neatly. While reading about religious militants and the mire into which we've gotten ourselves in Afghanistan and Pakistan isn't my preferred reading topic, it does remind me that my life is very blessed indeed. And the plight of Pakistan seemed even more pertinent as Wikileaks makes a splash in the headlines today over the very same topic that the book presents. The complicity of Pakistan's Inter-Serive ...more
Jun 12, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don't mistake this book for a popular history -- Imtiaz Gul's short but fact-packed book about the recent history and current state of the Afghan/Pakistan frontier is more of a reference than a read. As a list of the players and an overview of the state of play in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, it can't be beat - though the fluidity of the current situation will likely date the book quickly. But I found plowing through the author's dry presentation a challenge.

Gul's underlying t
Aug 16, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Good in some ways, fair in others. If geopolitics is your game, this is a good book. If you're a scholar of political science, the subcontinent, or the Taliban, this is a good book. My number one takeaway is that the situation is more fluid and subtle than I realized.

The book does have its faults. From my perspective it's like studying the sex life of the amoeba. Or it can be condensed into one concise statement: a bunch of jerks live in the area so don't go there. There is poor reasoning at ti
Hillary Major
OK, so having initially cracked the cover a few weeks ago, I neglected this one a bit while I finished re-reading a favorite fantasy series. I'm weak, what can I say? That's not to imply that The Most Dangerous Place: Pakistan's Lawless Frontierdoesn't have plenty to recommend it.

The book is remarkly timely, detailed, and closer to an insider perspective than most of what's out there. Like a good book should, it asks us to think and cautions against any simplistic notions of the "war on terror."
Actual Rating: 3.5/5

Throughout the book, it was evident that the author has done a lot of research and has a lot of information about his subject matter. Another good thing about the book is that its quite well-written, especially the chapter on Suicide Bombing, which was my favourite, and is the reason I gave this book an additional 0.5 star.
Unfortunately, the book does not have a clear organisational structure. Gul gets lost amongst the details and the facts, which could've made this book bri
May 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is certainly the best I've read on the current situation in Pakistan, how it got that way, and why it got that way. The author does a phenomenal job of accurately portraying both the US and Pakistan military and government perspectives, priorities, and thinking. He does not subscribe to conspiracy theories, but acknowledges them and attempts to explain why people may think that way. He does not allow emotion to cloud or bias his writing and does not seem to favor one side or the other. ...more
Disclaimer - The book I read is an advanced uncorrected proof which I received as a giveaway on Goodreads.

I learned a lot about Pakistan from this book, which I appreciated because I didn't know much about it before. However, it took me two months to get through this book (which is a lot for me). It is written like an extended newspaper article and includes a lot of very forgettable names. I felt like I was missing a good dumbed-down overview and instead got a lot of details.

I found the uncorr
Frank Kelly
Gul is one of Pakistan's leading journalists and commentators and has been writing about Islamists groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan for more than 20 years. In this information-packed book, Gul delves deeply into what makes Pakistan's Northwest frontier provinces (Swat Valley, the Northwest Federally administered tribal areas, etc.) "the most dangerous place in the world." The chaos, the multiple competing militant groups and above all, the Pakistani Taliban, have kept Pakistan on the edge of c ...more
Zohar -
Jun 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
Disclaimer - The book I read is an advanced uncorrected proof which I received for free.

The book gets its title from a speech President Obama made on March, 2009: "For the American people, this border region has become the most dangerous place in the world,"

This scrupulous coverage of Pakistan was written by the knowledgeable Imtiaz Gul. The author does not only quote reference material but also an array of impressive personas he personally spoke to. For me, the element of personal knowledge ga
May 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gul clarifies the tenuous relationship Pakistan has with surrounding countries, internal tribal conflicts and the U.S. While he's able to identify the roots of these complicated relationships, his chapters often introduce complicated situations and relationships without their clarification, which comes in the second half of the chapter -creating some initial confusion and a need for constant review of previous pages (which does work will in relation with a great index of the various Taliban fact ...more
Dec 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: research
Excellent! Imtiaz does a great job in explaining the history of Pakistan's most troubled, lawless region. The dynamics that exist there make it easy to understand why terrorists, extremists and criminals can find safe haven in this part of the country. The interviews with US diplomats, retired and serving Pakistan Army officials and politicians made the entire analysis much stronger.

A must read if you want to understand Pakistan's history with militant groups.
Oct 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, this book contains such important information about our "ally" Pakistan and its role in financing and abetting anti western terrorism an nuclear proliferation, that it would be almost impossible for any sane person not to call for the liquidation of Pakistan. The sad thing is the book is horribly written and quite a slog to fight through. I still gave it 3 stars due to it's important content.
Vaarun Dhingra
May 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good read, educates you about the problems Pakistan is facing in the North-West and FATA regions. The author breaks down all the terrorist groups operating from these areas brilliantly, explaining everything from how they recruit to their funding. And the chapter on the role of the ISI in all this is explained very well.
Hunter Marston
Informative but not well organized. In the first couple chapters I was more optimistic with the journalistic vignettes and mix of interviews, analysis, and history. But the rest of the book fluttered on rather dully. Yet it was convincing and prescient, aside from the general optimism with which the author views the US-Pakistan alliance in the end.
I'm sorry, I just couldn't finish this book. I felt like I was supposed to have come in with all this knowledge that I just didn't have, and I had a hard time following what the book was telling me. I may try again later though. The topic was interesting, I just couldn't keep my facts organized well enough to keep going.

Won through the goodreads giveaway.
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an excellent reference if you already have some background of the insurgency in the Pakistani tribal area. Without the background it might not make a lot of sense.

Understanding in depth the complex issues of FATA and Pakistani states challenge in establishing its writ in the area was interesting
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An eye opening read about the goings on in Pakistan. It's truly a wonderment to me about how little Americans know about the world. The "World News" should be called the "American News with snippits of foreign news". Mr. Gul did a great job with this book.
May 31, 2010 marked it as couldn-t-finish  ·  review of another edition
I've tried to start this book a couple of times and right now, I just can't seem to get into it. I'm thinking maybe once my boyfriend gets back from his deployment I can start reading it. But as for now, it will remain on my tbr shelf.
Cara Best
May 25, 2010 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes current events
I feel like an idiot, the author has kindly included a guide to who's who in the back of the book. Informative and interesting. I learned more about Pakistan than I ever knew before. It looks as though Pakistan will be our next battleground.
May 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Happy to see I won this giveaway.............exactly my type of book!
Sep 20, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Surprising to read a book written by a Pakistani which is so critical of the Pakistani government and its role in supporting terrorism....
Anyone who still believes that Pakistan hasn't spent the last 20 years playing both sides in the so called 'war on terror' should read this book, your perspectives will definitrely change!!
Dec 11, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Early chapters seem promising.
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