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Slowflyer (Herts UK)

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Songs of Blood and Sword
Songs of Blood and Sword
by Fatima Bhutto
Edition: Paperback

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A readable but flawed vision, 17 Jun 2010
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. She deserves praise for her courage to go on this journey. It's an interesting social history of a small and priviliged class in Pakistan with an abiding sense of entitlement and a strong patrician attititude towards the millions of have-nots. She is less sure-footed in setting the geopolitical context. It should be read with two important caveats: the first is that it presents a partial view of the story. Bhutto struggles to present a balanced view of her extraordinary family's special place in this small, frail and ultimately failed experiment in statehood. But ultimately falls down because her view is partial, intensely personal and she has insufficient insight into the military-industrial comples which, ultimately, runs ther country. She is also curiously myopic when it comes to judging her father's idealistic but ultimately flawed world-view. Like many romantic socialists he failed to see that socialism, let alone Marxism, was the wrong antidote to what ails Pakistan and totally alien to the cuture of all but a few Western (and Eastern)educated upper middle-class Pakistanis. Second she pulls her punches when it comes to describing the depressing descent into predictable corruption and indifference of a ruling class ( Benazir in particular, Benazir of ALL people with her extraordinarily privileged education and keen mind) who lined their pockets while failing to take on the appallingly cyncial and narrow-minded generals whose only interest is power, stoking anti-Indian demonology and appeasing the frankly medieval social practices of a large part of this male-dominated society. Which is a pity because the country is beautiful and full of energy and potential. Still, for students of Pakistan ( or Afpak) it's worth reading.

The Price
The Price
by Tony Macnabb
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A cut and a half above your run-of-the-mill thriller, 1 Oct 2008
This review is from: The Price (Paperback)
Gripping stuff this stylish first novel.After a slightly uncertain start it holds your attention effortlessly.Pacey and witty with little pockets of insight which give it more depth than your average page-turner. MacNabb succesfully avoids the elephant trap of tarring his characters with the usual cliches about terrorists and the rest of us. He teases out their sometimes sad, sometimes comically flawed characters with unexpected twists and touches lending weight to the cock-up (as opposed to the conspiracy) theory of life so beloved of Oxford pointy heads of his generation. I really enjoyed it. It would make a terrific two-parter on the telly.

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