By Ian Talbot
NEW YORK: ST. MARTIN’S PRESS, 1998
374 PAGES + APPENDICES, BIBLIOGRAPHY, AND INDEX
Scholarly and well-researched are not always the equivalent of accessible. Unfortunately, this is the case concerning Ian Talbot’s Pakistan: A Modern History. The author’s erudition is displayed on every page. He places Pakistani history in various contexts: the legacy of the British Raj; the history and role of Islam in society; the historical importance of different languages to the citizens of the country; the various social and economic constructs of the populace; the issue of Kashmir; the war in Afghanistan. His knowledge of the country is encyclopedic. Virtually every page of his book contains several footnotes. Yet, because of the complexity of the subject, the sheer density of the text overwhelms the reader.