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Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistani Bomb Paperback – 15 Nov 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 552 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press (15 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804776016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804776011
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 855,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Comprehensive, detailed, and written with military precision and objectivity, Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistani Bomb is an elegantly crafted and engaging history of the Pakistani efforts to obtain the atomic bomb that will become a reference work in the study of Pakistan and its nation-defining relationship with the nuclear program." - Vladimir Rauta, Review of Politics "Eating Grass will become the authoritative volume on Pakistan's nuclear trajectory, from its uncertain beginnings to Pakistan's present development of tactical nuclear weapons ... [T]his is the best volume we have." - Shashank Joshi, RUSI Journal "In this important and impressive new work, Khan traces the development of Pakistan's nuclear-weapons program from partition to the present ... Khan succeeds admirably in sifting through published accounts and weaving in details and anecdotes from his numerous interviews with key participants." - Frank Klotz, The National Interest "Feroz Khan, a retired Pakistan Army general who served as Director of the Strategic Plan Division, Pakistan's nuclear security apparatus, has written the first comprehensive insider account of the Pakistani nuclear weapons program ... Framed as a story of indigenous triumph, Eating Grass nonetheless also serves as a history of the failure of non-proliferation regimes - or as a how-to guide for how to evade them." - Timothy Nunan, The Sunday Guardian "Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistani Bomb, uses primary source material and personal interviews to explain and analyze the genesis of Pakistan's nuclear program. Understanding Pakistan's nuclear development is not only important for Pakistan scholars but also for nuclear analysts more broadly. Nuclear scholars are working with an incredibly small sample of nine nuclear states, so gaining a robust understanding of each nation's path to the bomb is essential. General Khan discussed a wide range of issues as an introduction to his book's more comprehensive analysis." - Sarah Wiener, CSIS

About the Author

Brigadier General (retired) Feroz Khan is a lecturer in the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey. He served with the Pakistani Army for 30 years, most recently as Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Affairs, within the Strategic Plans Division, Joint Services Headquarters, and has represented Pakistan in several multilateral and bilateral arms control negotiations. General Khan has been a visiting scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and has held fellowships at Stanford University's Center for International Studies and Cooperation, the Brookings Institution, the Center for Non-Proliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and the Cooperative Monitoring Center, Sandia National Laboratory. He has also taught as visiting faculty at the Department of the Defense and Strategic Studies, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very impressed by Mr. Khan's analysis and narrative of how and why Pakistan acquired nuclear capability and would very much recommend this book to others. Well written, easily readable and thoroughly absorbing it is too, Mr Khan, one of the military figures significantly involved in the project, documents the process of bomb acquisition from the early years of the nation's history, right through until recent times. His coverage of the post-detonation era is in particular very concise and clear, documenting how Pakistan's nuclear strategy evolved and also how it adapted to the responsibilities of being a nuclear power. My very perception of how Pakistan functions as a nation has been altered by Mr. Khan's book.

Firstly, the title refers to a statement made by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the undisputed 'father' of the Pakistani bomb project, when he commented that Pakistan and Pakistani's would need to 'eat grass' in order to obtain a nuclear capability in response to India obtaining one. And here, in a nutshell, is the principle motivation for the development of a Pakistani nuclear capability; the desire for 'strategic parity' with their arch-nemesis India. This desire for an atomic weapon was to be encouraged in later years by images of national stature and international isolation.

We start during the 1950s. With President Eisenhower's 'Atoms For Peace' project igniting the desire to take advantage of nuclear energy possibilities, the leadership in Karachi saw this as an excellent opportunity to strengthen the fledgling Pakistani nation. This investment continued even after the military coup installed General Ayub Khan at the end of the decade. Reactors were constructed and the infrastructure grew, enabling Pakistan to meet new challenges.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
An excellent history of Pakistan's nuclear bomb project from a real insider 5 Dec. 2012
By Multidisciplinarian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Much has been written about Pakistan's program to develop a nuclear bomb; most of it centered around AQ Khan and designed to either show he was a hero and the best scientist Pakistan has ever produced or that he was a villain and incompetent to boot. Feroz Khan (no relation that I am aware of) has framed that question in its proper proportion to the rest of the history of Pakistan's bomb work in this fascinating and well researched book. There is much new and very important in this work and I highly recommend it.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A much needed account of Pakistan's quest to acquire a nuclear deterrent 11 Mar. 2013
By GSTownBiz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Khan writes an objective analysis for Pakistan's reasons to acquire nuclear capability. He argues that suffering from national humiliation is often a trigger for a state's quest to acquire nuclear capability. For Israel, it was the holocaust. For China, it was suffering humiliation at the hands of Japan during World War II and the US in Korea after. For India, it was suffering defeat at the hands of the Chinese in 1962. In Pakistan's case, the dismemberment of the country in 1971 strengthened the resolve of the nation to "never again" suffer such humiliation. The book is laden with technical details that will prove useful for research. Largely, however, Khan's book is narrated in a manner that interweaves the history of Pakistan with the story of the bomb, and makes for an engaging read. Students and enthusiasts in the field of political science, international affairs and national security will truly enjoy this book, as will the layman. The book has the potential to change international outlook of Pakistan's nuclear program, which has been cast in a negative light by the international media. Khan gives due credit to Pakistan's scientific community, who were able to accomplish the development of a nuclear program in the face of sanctions and intense international scrutiny. Khan provides new material that was heretofore unavailable, a truly remarklable account put together especially in light of the fact there Pakistan does not have a "culture of declassification" (as the author puts it).
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Eating Grass: Spare Nothing for the Bomb 21 Nov. 2012
By John Wm Schiffeler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Feroz Hassan Khan, a retired brigadier general in the Pakistani Army and currently on the faculty at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, has written an excellent and much needed account--under the imprimatur of the Stanford University Press--of the development of atomic power in Pakistan as a countermeasure to India's earlier pursuits in the atomic arena. His scholarship reflects a brilliant mind and balanced approach to appreciating and understanding this subject matter. It also serves to remind some of us of the futility of such one-upsmanship in the quest of atomic superiority. His findings are based on extensive interviews with many of the leading figures responsible for establishing and furthering this development, as is reflected by his many citations in the Notes. For those interested in international relations and its related fields, especially with respect to South Asia, this work should be regarded as required reading. It is uncommon to find someone with such an extensive background and first-hand knowledge of this subject matter as the author possesses.
Very Insightful and Informative. 21 May 2015
By Mr. D. J. Walford - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I was very impressed by Mr. Khan's analysis and narrative of how and why Pakistan acquired nuclear capability and would very much recommend this book to others. Well written, easily readable and thoroughly absorbing it is too, Mr Khan, one of the military figures significantly involved in the project, documents the process of bomb acquisition from the early years of the nation's history, right through until recent times. His coverage of the post-detonation era is in particular very concise and clear, documenting how Pakistan's nuclear strategy evolved and also how it adapted to the responsibilities of being a nuclear power. My very perception of how Pakistan functions as a nation has been altered by Mr. Khan's book.

Firstly, the title refers to a statement made by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the undisputed 'father' of the Pakistani bomb project, when he commented that Pakistan and Pakistani's would need to 'eat grass' in order to obtain a nuclear capability in response to India obtaining one. And here, in a nutshell, is the principle motivation for the development of a Pakistani nuclear capability; the desire for 'strategic parity' with their arch-nemesis India. This desire for an atomic weapon was to be encouraged in later years by images of national stature and international isolation.

We start during the 1950s. With President Eisenhower's 'Atoms For Peace' project igniting the desire to take advantage of nuclear energy possibilities, the leadership in Karachi saw this as an excellent opportunity to strengthen the fledgling Pakistani nation. This investment continued even after the military coup installed General Ayub Khan at the end of the decade. Reactors were constructed and the infrastructure grew, enabling Pakistan to meet new challenges. However, it was the General's protégé, a young Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who saw the benefit and strategic need of pursuing a nuclear weapons capability. Initially skeptical, the Pakistani President saw little need to create a weapons project. After his overthrow in 1969 and the election of Bhutto as president, the bomb project was started and became a high national priority especially following the Indian 'Smiling Buddha' test in 1974.

Over the subsequent years, Pakistan was to meet opposition from almost every international angle as it tried to create a weapons programme. This adversity was to merely encourage the Pakistani scientists and engineers in achieving their goal with Khan documenting how enthusiastic and resourceful they were in their work. By the late 1970s, a scientist by the name of Abdul Qadeer Khan (A.Q. Khan) was bringing his expertise and international connections to the project. He was to be pivotal in how Pakistan reached its nuclear goals.

Khan's historical narrative is very interesting and exciting. This is a page turner, a book that documents a complex subject very nicely and in a very readable fashion and it doesn't stop here either. The author goes on to describe just how resourceful the Pakistanis were to be. They acquired their materials by legal and illegal purchasing and trade benefiting immensely from A.Q. Khan's international reputation and connections. Simple exchanges were considered and made with nations such as North Korea and China, certainly when it came to developing a strategic delivery system (both nations assisted Pakistan in obtaining solid and liquid fueled rockets capable of reaching and threatening India). Pakistan overcame sanctions, quarrels, active hostility and simple threats whilst building their bomb capability.

Feroz Khan's analysis continues up to and beyond the first test detonation in 1998. Indeed it is the post-capability era where we see Pakistan adapting to their new role as a nuclear power. The events of 9/11 and the almost year long Kargil affair with India in 2001-2002 were crucial concerning the evolution of the country's nuclear strategy. Ultimately, the Pakistan authorities discovered how best to utilise their deterrent (a integration of conventional/nuclear forces) and also how to adequately secure it from theft and espionage. Today the Strategic Plans Division of the National Command Authority has sole authorisation of releasing nuclear weapons for use, however, it was to take nearly a decade to get to this stage of 'professionalism'. This professional approach also witnessed the discovery and removal of A.Q. Khan and his shameless proliferation network where he sold nuclear knowledge and technology to anyone who desired them. The Khan network was to be an embarrassing off-shoot of the project with the scientist himself arrogantly assuming he could profit from his expertise whilst answered to no one.

This is an excellent starting point to the subject and a must read. As mentioned, the author provides a very readable account of how bomb capability was achieved, clearly emphasising how the project was given virtually unlimited funding and resources regardless of the state of the Pakistani economy. His conclusion on where Pakistan is now heading is also somewhat chilling.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The full context for the sequence of events. 20 April 2014
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
By an author with unequaled access to the major players, this account presents the exact sequence of events each placed in its full historical context in a very readable form.
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