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Tinderbox Cover


The Past and Future of Pakistan

By M. J. Akbar

Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780062131799, 376pp.

Publication Date: June 26, 2012


In Tinderbox: The Past and Future of Pakistan, acclaimed author and journalist M. J. Akbar traces the search for a Muslim space that began in the eighteenth century, and the events, people, circumstances, and mind-set that culminated in a fractured India in 1947. But why is Pakistan in danger of becoming a jelly state, a country that constantly quivers on the edge ofinstability? Akbar investigates contradictions in the nation's modern leadership, from Jinnah's secular ideals to the theocrats clear stance on creating a sanctuary of Islam. He also offers an intimate appraisal of the young nation's future including the global implications of nuclear armament and the harboring of terrorists like Osama bin Laden.

Tinderbox, a riveting and expansive biography of a nation, fills a crucial void in our understanding even as the region's conflicts grow to affect the entire world.

Praise For Tinderbox

“An acclaimed journalist gives us the one thing he can: an illuminating history.”
-Daily Beast

“Historically grounded, informative.”
-Publishers Weekly

“A lively read. . . . Among many recent books on Pakistan, Mr. Akbar’s stands out . . . it is a fine and detailed history of Indian Muslim anger and insecurity, spawned by the 18th-century decline of the Mughals, and the way this played out in the freedom struggle.”
-The Economist

“Akbar’s elegant, probing work exhibits a sympathetic insider’s understanding of the complex, evolving relationship between Muslims and Hindus in the area. . . . Presents a thoughtful historical perspective, rich in detail, research and gloom.”
-Kirkus Reviews