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A tedious, clich d, tired and ultimately boring portrayal of a troubled nation Little surprises the reader as Nicholas races from one crises to another, virtually no overview or vision of every day life for regular Pakistanis is provided a life that has its own challenges of food inflation and unemployment while Schmidle plies the reader with interesting encounters with predictable scary islamists This book is an quarter inch deep overview of a nation written for Western readers that has little to offer for anyone who knows even the basics about the region.A waste of a read though I found myself skipping Schmidle s elementary factual descriptions of regional political developments thus lessening the pain and reading time of the book.A person looking for a similar but much better written book from a far experienced and adventurous hand should read Eric Margolis War at the Top of the World. A page turner. This book begins rather slowly but picks up steam as it goes along Nicholas Schmidle is either an awfully brave young man or he hasn t shed his youthful feelings of immortality invincibility What I learned from this book is that I wouldn t go to Pakistan for love nor money, we are very blessed to live in this country, and that it might behoove us to get out of that area of the world entirely. Good for anyone interested in learning about the politics of modern day Pakistan I picked up this book after hosting a member of a Pakistani Rotary exchange All I knew of Pakistan was what I d heard and seen on the newswhich is a very limited view I was intrigued enough that I wanted to read all I could about the country This is the first book I read.The author won a 2 year fellowship for which he had to learn Urdu, live in Pakistan for 2 years and write about it As I recall, he was there 2006 2008 and his book was published in 09 Both he and his wife moved to Pakistan and while his wife stayed put at their home base, Mr Schmidle spent the majority of his time traveling throughout the country focusing much of his time in the rural and dangerous areas The book opens as the couple get an unwelcome visitor informing them they are promptly being deported from Pakistan the author then takes the reader back to the beginning months of his stay Schmidle was in Pakistan during some major events when Musharaff put his Supreme Court judges under house arrest prompting attorneys and citizens to riot in the streets of Lahorewhen Benazir Bhutto was assassinated His ability to speak the local language enabled him to befriend many including tribal leaders and Talibani and thus write about them and the aforementioned events in insightful ways Several months after he s deported, Schmidle manages to get himself another visa in order to write about the lighter side of Pakistani culture What he discovers upon his return made the little hairs on the back of my neck stand on end After reading Schmidle s book, I have a whole new understanding of the country in which my new Rotarian friends live Getting to know these wonderful people changed my view of Pakistanis they re good people just like us who love their families and want to better themselves Knowing they have to live in the country Schmidle writes about makes me grateful I was lucky enough to be born an Americanbut sad and fearful for them and their families. Schmidle is a brave journalist who got his start on a two year, all expenses paid fellowship in Pakistan He made the most of it, traveling to remote regions of the country and hanging out with some of the country s notorious opposition leaders He used to make regular visits to Lal Masjid the Red Mosque , just down the street from his house in Islamabad, to hang out with its leader But then, in the summer of 2007, it became international news when then dictator Musharraf decided he d had enough opposition from Lal Masjid, where they were preaching against the government and stocking up arms.Schmidle gained access to people in Pakistan that few foreign journalists have, and he uses it to give a fascinating look into the stories behind the bombings and conflicts that get reported in the western press.One quibble about the reporting, however, is that he mainly seems to hang out with the leaders, and doesn t talk to average people as much If he did talk to average people much, it s not clear it influenced his ideas.Toward the end of the book, it might seem a bit disappointing when he writes I thought back to the question my grandfather had put to me than a year earlier, when he asked, genuinely curious, What s wrong with that place I realized that I was no closer to offering a comprehensive answer now than I had been back then That bothered me The political, social, economic, and religious dynamics embedded in Pakistan seemed to become and complicated and volatile with time, and less and less solvable But I ve lived in Pakistan nearly two years now, and although I haven t spent time with the kind of people that Schmidle has, I have the same feeling as he does There s no clear answer about where things are headed, or what to do about it When I ve gone back to the U.S., people want to know what I think about Pakistan, what should be done But it s really hard to say much Perhaps the best answer is simply to curb corruption, to help make development faster, and much fair That s not the kind of answer people are looking for, though, because it s a solution that would take decades, and no one can see the benefits on the horizon, it seems. An exciting, interesting work of nonfiction set in Pakistan in 2007 and 2008 The author is a young, intrepid journalist with the New America Foundation among others His time in Pakistan was punctuated by momentous events, including Benazir Bhutto s assassination, the destruction of the Red Mosque, and President Pervez Musharraf s resignation Schmidle covers these events firsthand, crisscrossing the country to interview terrorists, government officials, political activists, and common people In its essential form, the book helped me understand some of the political, religious, and historic factors that drive modern Pakistan But the text is not dry Some representative chapter titles include The Blood of Our Martyrs Will Not Go To Waste and If You Don t Let Us Live in Peace, We Won t Let You Live In Peace Schmidle should have died in Pakistan Near the end of the book he admits This time was different I left in a bulletproof car I knew, sitting in Dubai, that unfortunately I was done with Pakistan for a while I needed a lot time away from the intelligence agencies And I had left most of my optimism about Pakistan back at the urs.But what was the agencies problem with me Maybe they thought I was someone I was not Maybe they felt threatened by me I know, it s kind of a silly, self aggrandizing thing to say But why would they plant stories in the newspapers that I had been kidnapped A good readinteresting and fast paced He increased my interest in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh Enlightened me as to the struggles in Baluchistan and introduced key players from the past and the present.I appreciate that he presented the characters as humans and not as caricatures It is helpful for all to realize that these are human beings who believe that they are doing what is best for their people This does not justify their actions or give them immunity from justice but seeing life from their perspectives helps us to appreciate the complexities of life and better understand the world I don t know how either country, Pakistan and Afghanistan, can function with so many radicals on the loose The obvious corruption of the Pakistani government and the military is appalling The idea of suspending the Constitution and imprisoning Justices to protect ones position is very third world It is a shame that such a gifted people have been saddled with such a burden May the future bring the people of all three nations peace and prosperity Nicely written reportage from a young journalist about the two years he recently spent in Pakistan, trying to understand the various ethnic and mostly fringe political groups there The fact that Pakistan has never managed to form itself into a stable state stands out, as well as the sheer courage or is it the recklessness of the young it took Schmidle to get some of his stories The shadow of Daniel Pearl was always in the background, and occasionally in the foreground, as he met with various leaders from some of these groups He seems to have gotten on the bad side of the ISI the Pakistani intelligence service , which can be as scary, and probably resulted in his ultimate deportation.He manages to convey the views of the radical groups and their leaders, and importantly, is able to illustrate some of the problems Pakistan has with the tribal areas, where the Taliban and al Qaeda are growing and thriving He discusses how the tribal traditions are being broken down by Taliban takeovers, and how Pakistan is virtually helpless to do much about it, even if it wants to I think this is something the world needs a clear picture of if we re going to find effective ways to deal with it.A few quibbles, but I do recommend the book for the insights it provides into the ethnic and political tensions, and for Schmidle s good writing You won t get a full picture of current day Pakistan, nor its many problems, nor do these groups get put into an overall perspective, so don t expect it But the slice you get is instructive. `DOWNLOAD ✖ To Live or to Perish Forever: Two Tumultuous Years in Pakistan ⇣ A Gritty, Lively, And Revelatory Look Inside The Crucial And Volatile Nation Of PakistanIn To Live Or To Perish Forever, Nicholas Schmidle Takes Readers To Pakistan S Rioting Streets, To Taliban Camps In The North West Frontier Province, And On Many Surprising Adventures As He Provides A Contemporary History Of This Country Long Riven By Internal Conflict With The Intimacy And Good Humor Available Only To The Most Fearless And Open Eyed Reporters, Schmidle Narrates What Was Arguably The Most Turbulent Period Of Pakistan S Recent History, A Time When President Pervez Musharraf Lost His Power And The Taliban Found Theirs, And When Americans Began To Realize That Pakistan S Fate Is Inextricably Linked With Our OwnIn February Schmidle Had Traveled To Pakistan Hoping To Learn About The Place Dubbed The Most Dangerous Country In The World It Was While There That He Befriended A Radical Cleric Who Became An Enemy Of The State And Was Killed , Came To Crave The Smell Of Tear Gas Because It Assured Him That He Was Sufficiently Close To The Action , And In The End, Was Deported By The Pakistani Authorities, Managed To Get Back Into The Country, And Was Chased Out A Second Time