The Unraveling by John R. Schmidt
Pakistan in the Age of Jihad

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How did a nation founded as a homeland for South Asian Muslims, most of whom follow a tolerant nonthreatening form of Islam, become a haven for Al Qaeda and a rogue's gallery of domestic jihadist and sectarian groups?

In this groundbreaking history of Pakistan's involvement with radical Islam, John R. Schmidt, the senior U.S political analyst in Pakistan in the years before 9/11, places the blame squarely on the rulers of the country, who thought they could use Islamic radicals to advance their foreign policy goals without having to pay a steep price. This strategy worked well at first--in Afghanistan during the anti-Soviet jihad, in Kashmir in support of a local uprising against Indian rule, and again in Afghanistan in backing the Taliban in the Afghan civil war. But the government's plans would begin to unravel in the wake of 9/11, when the rulers' support for the U.S. war on terror caused many of their jihadist allies to turn against them. Today the army generals and feudal politicians who run Pakistan are by turns fearful of the consequences of going after these groups and hopeful that they can still be used to advance the state's interests.

The Unraveling is the clearest account yet of the complex, dangerous relationship between the leaders of Pakistan and jihadist groups--and how the rulers' decisions have led their nation to the brink of disaster and put other nations at great risk. Can they save their country or will we one day find ourselves confronting the first nuclear-armed jihadist state?


About John R. Schmidt

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John R. Schmidt teaches at the Elliott School for International Affairs at George Washington University. He served in the State Department during a thirty-year service career, including as Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad in the years leading up to 9/11.
Published September 13, 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 288 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality, Travel. Non-fiction

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Moreover, Pakistan’s eager acceptance of American financial support and capitulation to American interests have come under deep suspicion by both the Pakistani people (only a small percentage of whom consider themselves fundamental Islamist) and American government—especially underscored by the r...

Jul 01 2011 | Read Full Review of The Unraveling: Pakistan in t...

Publishers Weekly

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In a clear and systematic analysis of Pakistan's history, he examines the country's beginnings in the partition of India in 1947, exploring the rise of the feudal civilian politicians and the Pakistani army that now dominate Pakistan's politics, and who, united in their enmity toward India, nurtu...

Jun 06 2011 | Read Full Review of The Unraveling: Pakistan in t...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

Despite being one of the younger countries on the globe, Pakistan has accumulated an astonishing amount of turbulent history in the last half century, whose Gordian Knot is cut brilliantly here by State Department veteran John R.

Oct 11 2011 | Read Full Review of The Unraveling: Pakistan in t...

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