Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ahmed Rashid - An Informative Read

I just finished Ahmed Rashid's Taliban - Militant Islam, Oil & Fundamentalism in Central Asia last weekend. Chalk full of personal interviews, facts, time lines, maps, glossaries, 4 pages bibliographies, colloquialisms, 20 pages of foot notes, written in 2000, Taliban was well organized, insightful, and a very interesting read. The follow on book Descent Into Chaos - the U.S. and the Disaster In Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia, written in 2008, I'm only 20 pages into so far.

Through his detailed accounts of the region's history, the main power brokers, and current events, Mr. Rashid subtly expresses a sadness for his native Pakistan as it implodes and staggers drunkenly down the road to disaster paved with corruption & drug money while driven with a fear of India and a proclivity for extreme fundamentalism. I'm looking forward to driving through this 500 page tome.

If you're looking for light hearted entertainment, this aint the book for you. If all the somewhere-a-bads, and vague-i-stans intrigue you, the differences between a Mujaheddin and a Taliban fighter elude you, and clueless Western myopic parachute reporting aggravates you, then give Rashid's works a try.

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