A remarkable exploration of the role of the Pakistani army in politics since 1947. Shah brilliantly exposes the porousness of, and the connivance between, the nation s civilian and military spheres. He shows that the army was not the sole villain of the play: domestic politicians and American backers have played key roles in making military rule possible. --Christophe Jaffrelot, author of "The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience""
"[This] rich and skilfully argued book leaves no doubt about the military's central responsibility in blighting the course of Pakistan's democratisation. [...] A fresh and original perspective that demands serious consideration." --Times Higher Education, 8 May 2014
Shah approaches the army through the methods of sociological institutionalism: he traces forms of institutional socialisation (military education, camaraderie, cohabitation, promotion) that cultivate common beliefs and norms. To ascertain these beliefs, he draws on [a large number of sources]. Shah argues that studying these shared beliefs makes it possible to understand how the military thinks and therefore acts, lending a retrospective and predictive dimension to his analysis. There is considerable elegance in the symmetry between Shah s questions, methods and sources. -- Times Literary Supplement