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Songs of Blood and Sword: A Daughter's Memoir Hardcover – 1 Apr 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 470 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape; 1st edition (1 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224087533
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224087537
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4.3 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 345,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

If there is anyone born to write this story, it is Fatima Bhutto (William Dalrymple)

Book Description

An important and revealing new book on the Bhutto family, a dynasty that is central to the story of modern Pakistan

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By paperbackliker on 23 Feb 2012
Format: Paperback
Fatima Bhutto gives a coruscating account of the recent history of Pakistan and the major role of the Bhuttos within it. Driven by the murder of her beloved father Mir Murtaza she tells about the first democratically elected Prime Minister in Pakistan , her Grandfather Zulfikar Al Bhutto . Zulfikar was deposed during his first term by a General of the Army Zia and later executed. Zulfikars sons, Mir Murtaza and Shahnawaz left for exile to ferment an armed revolution in response. After Zia was killed in airplane crash Benzaire Bhutto positioned herself to become the first female Asian prime minister. In what should have been a restoration of democracy and human rights instead became decent into corruption political violence and autocracy that included a bitter and ultimately lethal persecution of her brother Mir Murtaza. Fatima is candid especially about the faults of her Grandfather as prime minister, the political prisoners and the beginnings of the erosion of women rights and dictatorship of Zia and inexplicably the deeper corruption and political violence meted out under Benzaire's rule. This is a tremendous book of courage where she has managed to present the facts as an outside champion for liberty as her father was but also an insider in this complex political dynasty. It is painful to read her as she describes her aunt Benzaire's life and death. The complexity of the emotion as another Bhutto is killed and her persecutor is removed. There are only moments when I felt her own self criticism of naivety and hagiography were true. She doesn't see the extent that all the Bhuttos were feted by the west. All the Bhuttos winning scholarships to Harvard and Oxford on merit doesn't seem credible. Her uncle's death Shahnawaz by suicide is not reasonably in question.Read more ›
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By giovanni on 1 Jun 2010
Format: Hardcover
Fatima Bhutto is a young , beautiful and opinionated pakistani columnist who also happens to be the niece of Benazir Bhutto , twice the prime minister of Pakistan and eventually assaninated during a campaign rally back in 2007 . She has just released a very uneven book about her father , Murtaza Bhutto who was gunned down under mysterious circumanstances back in 1996 outside his home in Karachi.
The book itself is indeed " a love letter " to her father , as the writter herself has said in an interview and a hateful letter to her late aunt for whom she finds flaws to point out even while Benazir was still a teenager .
Fatima's world seems to be strictly split between the good guys ( her father , his friends and allies , her grandfather and strangely enough the chinese and Hafez al Assad's Syria ) and the bad guys ( mainly Benazir Bhutto and the americans ) . Murtaza Bhutto is presented here as the perfect man , the perfect politician , the perfect father , the perfect husband and even the perfect boyfriend in the case of Della Garoufalis , a woman married to a jailed general of the failed greek junta. " I had to understand why he went to Kabul . It was a decision which changed our lifes " writes Fatima but never is she willing to question anything about her father's actions , even his decision to take up arms .
I have not lived in Pakistan so i don't know which Bhutto had more influence to the pakistani people or was more righteous or honest but having read many interviews of all of them on the web and seen speeches of theirs on youtube , i can say all three public figures of the family ( Benazir , Murtaza and their father Zulfiqar ) seemed to excel in a typical populist rhetoric which promises much more than can be delivered .
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By Umar N. Rathore on 15 Jan 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
recommended to all of you to read, amazing writing way and hopeful that she comes up with another book. Thank you.
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By Nauman ali on 29 Dec 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
it gave a good review of history and how things happened during the Bhutto era in pakistan. Gives people.. very touching and i have read it about 5 -6 times ...
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By Pen Name on 12 Dec 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Well written history on the Bhutto family. Interesting angle of the time of zia in Pakistan and the corruption of governments that followed.
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16 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Swapan Seth on 4 April 2010
Format: Hardcover
History is Shylockian in nature. It demands its pound of flesh. It requires certain debts to be paid. And sometimes, it asks for it through a book.
I have been a lifelong admirer of the Bhutto family. Barring the odd rotten apples.
The cloistered corridors of Pakistan and its dictatorial demeanours have prevented many from knowing what happened to the Bhuttos.
Of course,one always gathered the bits and pieces, but never the entire tale.
Fatima Bhutto's " Songs of Blood and Sword" is a book that i waited for far too long.
So when it was delivered to me hot off the shelves last night, I decided to devour it beginning 6 am this morning.
The book is Fatima's repayment of a debt to her father. Infact, perhaps just not to her father but to an entire Nation. I daresay even the world.
It essays the journey of a family whose political legacy has ultimately just been personal tragedy.
Fatima continues to live in Karachi.
And therefore to be able to author a book while being part of a regime that is ruthless and selfish, requires a courage of a different order.
Fatima has her father's fearlessness and fairness.
Her book also reflects a certain candour and conviction that is not necessarily encouraged in societies like Pakistan.
The book is peppered with wonderful moments. For instance, the grief that overtakes Murtaza upon the demise of his brother Shahnawaz.
She describes the relationship between the brothers in a manner that prompted a tear: " They were so different, but direct complements of each other. Where Shah was spontaneous, Murtaza was patient; when Shah was melancholy, Murtaza was hopeful. They were more than just brothers tied by blood, they were comrades. Companions.
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