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India Was One
India Was One
Price: £2.87

1.0 out of 5 stars ordinary effort., 12 Dec 2014
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This review is from: India Was One (Kindle Edition)
This is not a story neither a novel, rather it is a narrative based on author's subjective analysis of India. An apt name should have been 'India for dummies'. It's a whistle blown tour of modern India with the narrative filled with platitudes. The author has failed to answer the basic question which haunts many an economic immigrant. If India was so fine and full of opportunities, then why emigrate? As an immigrant myself the answer is pretty clear, there are better services and more opportunities in my adopted country than my native one, and that is the reason why I choose to live away from my own culture and society. It's a straight choice for me but the same question seems like an enigma for the author.

The story was quite ordinary and failed to capture any interest I am afraid. Wonder if the author works for the government of India?


Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West
Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West
by Dee Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Moving tales, 8 Dec 2014
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This is a very moving account of the many lost races of the American Indians, which were frightened, tricked, hounded, killed, and forced to migrate to far off penal colonies to make way for the White race in the USA. The narrative is unique as it is told from the Indian end for a change nicely positioned with snippets of news of the prevailing eras. Although many if the difference stories were repetitive but they give very important clues to the core nature of America and Americans. The way Indians were dehumanised is still repeated for instance in the 'War against terror', the use of orators to spread malicious disinformation now undertaken by the Big media corps like Fox and CNN, and the use of law to justify actions against the victims. Americans deep down must feel a profound remorse for the malicious actions of their forefathers against the original inhabitants of this land. Maybe this subconscious explains why stories like Hunger Games still prove great hits to this day. Is it me or does it seems a very shrewd casting of Jennifer Lawrence who does look very much like an American Indian!


Abolition!: The Struggle to Abolish Slavery in the British Colonies: The Struggle to Abolish Slavery in the British Empire
Abolition!: The Struggle to Abolish Slavery in the British Colonies: The Struggle to Abolish Slavery in the British Empire
by Richard S Reddie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic introduction to slave trade for someone with little background., 6 Dec 2014
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The book is a great introduction to the Transatlantic slave trade, from the start till it's eventual abolition. In this concise narrative I got a sense of how the much accepted practice of slavery became discredited. Raised in a Islamic tradition where slavery and female rights is still an issue, this book taught me with tangible methods of how to change public opinions using whatever prevailing narratives are available. I am not suggesting that slavery is practiced in the Islamic world of today but it was once, only to be abolished due to Colonisers. For me this rich Western tradition of raising public awareness campaigns against any gross injustice is a powerful tool which most of the Islamic cultures lack completely.

The book was very engaging and kept me captivated, though at times I felt the author giving slight more credit to the black anti slave campaigners which is understandable. The author has done his bit for his native Africans.

Until the lions have their own historians, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.


Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Capital in the Twenty-First Century
by Thomas Piketty
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.50

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very relevant read in the current economic climate., 5 Dec 2014
It's a bit of a long read filled with rather challenging economic stats and analysis which did challenge me somewhat, but I don't think he could have presented his final analysis without all the serious maths. The book has a revolutionary perception which is completely justified as the author has presented an alternate view of the science of economics. And in doing so he must be classified as a Whistle Blower. He even challenges economics as a science and wants it branded as as a social subject instead.

The analysis is pretty bleak, basically wealth breeds more wealth in a Capitalist system which can only be challenged by governments enforcing radical controls which the author believes it cannot. I loved the way comparisons were routinely made with the revolutionary Europe of the 19th century. The accumulated wealth in the early 20th century was blasted in the Great Wars which heralded a new phase of merit based wealth which in the author's opinion is hogwash. Real wealth is inherited which unfortunately has a very bad reputation although it is still prevalent in our society. The author is spot on as developing countries still value inheritance as very privileged luxury indeed.

This book is long but an extremely read in the current climate.


The Truth Always Prevails: A Memoir
The Truth Always Prevails: A Memoir
Price: £12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars very engaging read., 30 Nov 2014
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If every entrepreneur in Pakistan decide to pen their lives it would certainly clear a lot of mystery surrounding these exceptional individual. The book has enlightened me in many ways, Hashwani's businessman quest has not been easy. For an owner of five star multiple hotels, Hashwani sahib has spent number of months hiding from authorities living rough. He is a very courageous and resolute individual as very few businessmen would recount their side of the story against the most powerful politicians of the country.

I have always wondered why at the lack of businessmen and entrepreneurs from Pakistan. This story has answered many of my questions. After reading this story, it is clear that in order to succeed in Pakistan, he has to have his own intelligence network, exceptional amount of raw courage, and exemplary work ethic to acquire the single most important factor in every successful business; integrity.

I found the book very very engaging and inspiring.


Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan
Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan
Price: £11.95

5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic effort, 29 Nov 2014
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Peter has managed the impossible, somehow presenting mundane cricketing facts as a Scheherazade tale. From its modest beginnings, cricket in Pakistan has managed to become the defining feature for the nation. Most Pakistanis identify with cricket and live by it. But most don't know the intricate history of the game in Pakistan which somehow dampens the enthusiasm for the game. With this publication of this great book this glaring anomaly has finally been patched. Not only did the book cover all of the cricketing facts, but also personal profile of cricketers and the many controversies plaguing the much followed game.

The best aspect of the book for me the way Peter has juxtaposed Pakistan's cricketing prowess with the various political changes, from an insecure and cautious beginning to a team ruthless tigers, desperate to prove their mantle.

The end of the book was like a end of a classic movie, with the portrayal of the last days of the great Kardar , Fazal Mahmood, justice Cornelius and Hanif Mohammad.

Fantastic effort.


KP: The Autobiography
KP: The Autobiography
by Kevin Pietersen MBE
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.99

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like or hate it but very entertaining, 11 Nov 2014
This review is from: KP: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
For someone like me who does not like cricket but has to follow it because of my Pakistani descent, KP's book is just perfect. There wasn't a lot of cricket talk but rather the narrative was based on KP's fight against ECB and Andy Flower. I loved the venomous language employed to counter all the years of alleged abuse suffered by KP from the ECB and its lackey mainstream media. The style of attack, using Twitter and writing books is new and I like it. KP has managed to successfully expose ECB politics and locker room drama by giving his version of events all with text messages and email transcripts. ECB and the English cricket team have emerged as partisan and vindictive, basically against KP for playing in the IPL. This would make logical sense as certainly the IPL has emerged as the most successful series in the world of cricket, something the ECB has been desperate to create in their neck of woods for years without success.

The other aspect which I related was the immigrant aspect in the English team. I myself have spent around the same amount of time in the UK working in the IT industry and come across various cliques and prejudices against immigrants. After reading KP's bullying allegations I could not help wonder about my own state. If one of the most successful and talented batsman was not good enough for the English than what chances have I got in succeeding with my limited skills? In order to be accepted in the English culture, I have to be seen as a 'good' immigrant at all times. Any deviances risks me branded as a 'bad' immigrant which automatically makes me a target of all the vitriol media attacks against immigrants exploiting the great British hospitality system. Most economic immigrants are only looking for respect and a chance to be accepted in the new culture, which is impossible in Britain.

My only criticism is that I found the narrative bitter and emotional. I think KP should have waited for his anger to recede before publishing his views, but I think he intends this book as an olive branch to somehow get back into the English team. I do not know if that will be possible, especially if you believe what he wrote is true.


Revolution
Revolution
Price: £4.99

16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I think Russell Brand has presented a pretty relevant argument, 7 Nov 2014
This review is from: Revolution (Kindle Edition)
I think Russell Brand has presented a pretty relevant argument. All the issues he has highlighted are the ones almost completely ignored by the big media conglomerates of the world. The world opinion is slowly shifting against the rich and powerful cabals, and Russell's effort will surely help galvanise public opinion, especially giving voice to the failed and immigrants languishing in obscurity in every developed country.

I also thought the analogy with his personal drug rehab was also pretty relevant, as he was able to draw an apt comparison with the plight of the ordinary worker, addicted himself by paying bills and tax diligently to a government which isn't really representative of his needs.

Russell has also come out into the open with his open admission to faith and God, which in this day and age is a pretty courageous endeavour. I admire his new ideology of placing spiritualism into the centre replacing economy like in capitalism and Marxism.

Respect.....

Lastly. Jemima Khan must have a thing of dating revolutionaries. Her first husband Imran Khan is trying to conduct a revolution in Pakistan as well as her new beau Russell in Britain.


The Shah
The Shah
by Abbas Milani
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.19

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The much lavished mistress who had been unfaithful all along......, 5 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Shah (Paperback)
The book is a beautifully crafted account of the Reza Shah Pahlavi's life and times. Every revolution is unique in nature but the Iranian one has always intrigued me as the Iranian people were not exactly famished either financially or physically , which is a common factor almost mandatory in most revolutions. The author pitches the same question; how could the people hate Shah so much, even after the Shah did so much for them?

The attention to context details personal life of the Shah and his immediate family in a very vivid detail. The author has blended the art of Eastern story telling with Western detail to produce a real page turner.

The book offers the best story of the Islamic revolution right from its inception to its peak in 1979. It seems that the Shah did not defend monarchy in modern state of Iran, choosing instead to counter the external threat of communism with counter propaganda, thus delivering the common man to the mosque and its clergy, making the Islamic revolution inevitable. It is pretty strange that the Shah although educated in Europe failed to follow the example set by a number of European monarchies as they successfully transformed from ruling absolutely to reigning in name only. How did the Shah see his own rule? He portrayed himself as doing a thankless job almost like some sort of humanitarian philanthropic endeavour which must have further enraged the young Iranians.

I loved the gradual manner in which the author brought the Islamic revolution to a crescendo in the last chapters with many astute observations of the some of the contemporary players. This biography presents a unique and whole picture of the Shah, from a humble beginnings to the height of his career to his end as an international pariah.

The book left a strong feeling of compassion for the Shah, like a true lover spurned by his beloved who ultimately paid the ultimate price for his true love.

The only question left is the main reasons for the Islamic revolution in Iran. As the author points out, none of the major reasons for a revolution were present. There was no poverty, jobs were aplenty, democracy in some way and form was there. It isn't still clear to me what prompted the Iranians to revolt. The most ardent followers of revolution were from the new urban class, the peasants uprooted from their villages living in cities. The Shah choose provide more economic and personal growth to try and assuage threat from the new class instead of providing them with their own political representation which is the common practice among most third world sham democracies. But unfortunately this move only provided an already frustrated class further reasons for blame and impetus for revolution. Further during the lean period of democracy clerical figures like Khomeini were able to proclaim their democratic credentials. The Shah was also dumped by the Americans right towards the end who seemed to be more than happy to deal with the new revolutionaries giving credence to the new Islamic regime.

So I guess the Islamic revolution was hardly a revolution but a takeover in reality, by a very shrewd Islamic clergy, the only resort to democracy in an era of political vacuum.


Orphan of Islam
Orphan of Islam
by Alexander Khan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An insight into Pushtun and English clutures, 2 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Orphan of Islam (Paperback)
The story appeared interesting and I guess because it is supposed to be a true story there weren't a lot of twists. But I did find it strange when the Pushtun women in the book are depicted as wearing sari's over an over again. Being a Pakistani and having lived in closed proximity of Pushtuns, I have yet to see any of their women wearing a sari. The other aspect which troubled me reading this rather sad account was the chosen name of the book as the 'Orphan of Islam'. Granted a number of Muslims were instrumental in the authors 'kidnapping' and forced incarceration in Pakistan but some of the very same Muslims helped him break free from his captivity as well. More so, the author has given his father most of the blame while his Western English mother and his much loved British country were given hardly any stick for completely forgetting and ignoring his sorry plight even when the author was living amongst the British in Britain. As far as I can make out the British people in his life and British system are equally to blame for letting him become a victim, but I guess the publishers of the book would want to appeal to all Islamophobic readers which are numerous.

I would have wanted some more insight into the traditional Pushtun family structure though it is a much guarded fellowship even for more urban Pakistanis like me. The story lacked details of complexities of the Pushtun family and only touched on some of its intrigues.

On the whole, I do feel indebted to the author for at least penning down his story as it does shed some light on a much guarded and secret area.


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