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Songs of Blood and Sword [Kindle Edition]

Fatima Bhutto
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In September 1996, a fourteen-year-old Fatima Bhutto hid in a windowless dressing room, shielding her baby brother while shots rang out in the streets outside the family home in Karachi. This was the evening that her father Murtaza was murdered, along with six of his associates. In December 2007, Benazir Bhutto, Fatima's aunt, and the woman she had publically accused of ordering her father's murder, was assassinated in Rawalpindi.It was the latest in a long line of tragedies for one of the world's best known political dynasties.

Songs of Blood and Sword tells the story of a family of rich feudal landlords - the proud descendents of a warrior caste - who became powerbrokers in the newly created state of Pakistan. It is an epic tale full of the romance and legend of feudal life, the glamour and licence of the international political elite and ultimately, the tragedy of four generations of a family defined by a political idealism that would destroy them.

The history of this extraordinary family mirrors the tumultuous events of Pakistan itself, and the quest to find the truth behind her father's murder has led Fatima to the heart of her country's volatile political establishment.It is the history of a nation from Partition through the struggle with India over Kashmir, the Cold War, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan up to the post 9/11 'War on Terror'.

It is also a book about a daughter's love for her father and her search to uncover, and to understand, the truth of his life and death. It is a book about a family and nation riven by murder, corruption, conspiracy and division, written by one who has lived it, in the heart of the storm.

Songs of Blood and Sword is a book of international significance by a young woman who has already established herself as a brave and passionate campaigner.

Product Description


"Powerful" (Telegraph magazine)

"Fascinating" (Eithne Farry Marie Claire)

"She is a compassionate and brave campaigner who ought to be heard" (Sebastian Shakespeare Tatler)

"The purpose of this painful biography is admirable and touching" (Brenda Maddox The Times)

"A story with dazzling twists and turns told by a true-blue member of the Bhutto fold, with its family history of idealism, political betrayal, murder, hubris and paranaoia" (Arifa Akbar Independent)

Book Description

A lyrical, sweeping and powerful new book on the Bhutto family, an extraordinary, Kennedy-esque dynasty that is central to the story of modern Pakistan

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The good will speak out 23 Feb. 2012
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
2.0 out of 5 stars A promising first work 1 Jun. 2010
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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5.0 out of 5 stars good book. 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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16 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HISTORY IS SHYLOCKIAN IN NATURE 4 April 2010
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing book
recommended to all of you to read, amazing writing way and hopeful that she comes up with another book. Thank you.
Published 14 months ago by Umar N. Rathore
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
Well written history on the Bhutto family. Interesting angle of the time of zia in Pakistan and the corruption of governments that followed.
Published 15 months ago by Pen Name
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
One of the best books I've read in quite a some time. A great read - fascinating and heart whelming.
Published on 16 Feb. 2013 by Nabila
4.0 out of 5 stars CRUEL TRUTH
Bhuttoism is a phenomina led by a true leader ZA bhutto but his entire family including himself did less than 2% for its province and less than 25% for the nation. Read more
Published on 9 Jan. 2012 by khurram
5.0 out of 5 stars Songs of Blood and Sword
I am mid-way through this book and so far I think Fatima has done a great job. A daughter's memories of her late father and the aftermath. Read more
Published on 20 Jun. 2011 by PATOU
4.0 out of 5 stars Passionate and tender
A must read for anyone with an interest in Pakistani politics. Fatima Bhutto is a very promising writer, a recommended read without doubt.
Published on 8 Jun. 2011 by Omar A. Khan
4.0 out of 5 stars `We are a nuclear-armed state that cannot run refrigerators.'
In 1996, when Fatima Bhutto was 14 years old, her father Mir Murtaza Bhutto was shot dead by police outside his Karachi home. Read more
Published on 23 May 2011 by Jennifer Cameron-Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Love, History & Politics
Bhuttos like India's Gandhis and America's Kennedys have devoted their lives to Politics in Pakistan. Read more
Published on 9 April 2011 by Randhir
1.0 out of 5 stars bhutto fantasies and non-sense
When I first got the book, I thought that for a change, a Bhutto could talk about their past with impartiality and without any of the self-centered fantasies and legends they like... Read more
Published on 26 July 2010 by Mir
3.0 out of 5 stars A readable but flawed vision
I enjoyed this book not least because I've met quite a few of the key players. Fatima Bhutto writes well and the process was, apparently both cathartic and painful for her. Read more
Published on 17 Jun. 2010 by Slowflyer
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