A character-driven history that describes the bizarrely ill-suited alliance between America and Pakistan, written by a uniquely insightful participant: Pakistan's former ambassador to the US.
The relationship between America and Pakistan is based on mutual incomprehension, and always has been. Pakistan - to American eyes - has gone from being a stabilizing friend to an essential military ally to a seedbed of terror. America - to Pakistani eyes - has been a guarantee of security, a coldly distant scold, an enthusiastic military supplier and ally, and now a threat to national security and a source of humiliation.
In their sixty-five year relationship, one country has become a global superpower, the other perilously close to a failed state - perhaps one of the most dangerous places in the world.
Husain Haqqani has a unique insight into Pakistan, hishomeland, and America, where he was the Pakistani ambassador and is now a professor at Boston University. His life has mapped the relationship of Pakistan and America, and he has found himself often close to the heart of it - sometimes in very confrontational circumstances, even under house arrest - which has allowed him to write the story of the two countries' turbulent affair, here memorably laid bare.
©2013 Hussani Haqqani (P)2013 Blackstone Audiobooks
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"Great book overall."
Although I personally don't like the author but this is a well-researched book and lays out history of delusions from both sides in a very interesting manner, explaining the basis of many conspiracy theories rampant in Pakistan.
It is well-written and well-narrated.
"PAKISTAN AND U.S. RELATIONS"
Husain Haqqani, in “Magnificent Delusions”, recounts the history of Pakistan and its troubled relationship with the United States and India. Haqqani explains how nations act with delusion and misunderstanding. Ethnic diversity within nations makes speaking with one voice impossible. Consequent delusions and misunderstandings between nations foment arms escalation and international conflict.
Diplomatic policy and action are a reflection of what leaders can do within the framework of their respective governments and cultures. Haqqani infers that delusion and misunderstanding correlate with cultural ignorance; an ignorance that is endemic in nation-to-nation communication.
Haqqani was imprisoned for his efforts to remove the veil of obfuscation between the United States and Pakistan. He was eventually released by the Pakistani court system and allowed to leave Pakistan. “Magnificent Delusions” is a sad tale of a hard road Pakistan travels. It is a frightening explanation of growing terrorist potential of a country riven by social, economic, and ethnic conflict.
An ambassador that understands the culture of a country he/she is sent to is the greatest protection from delusion and misunderstanding between host and sponsor countries. “Magnificent Delusions” is an excellent primer for aspiring ambassadors.
"Hussein Haqqani's personal biases"
The book is well written and reiterates previous writings by Haqqani. Among other issues with this book, the sources Haqqani uses are limited in scope which do not take all aspects of the context into consideration. With the benefit of hindsight it's easy to make judgements. However, in the real world it isn't as simple as Haqqani presents it in that Pakistani generals were making a fool out of American leaders. Haqqani needs to look beyond his liberal blinders and appropriate blame to all actors that have made South Asia less secure and less prosperous than its potential. India is the regional power and thus make concessions to bring stability to the region. Haqqani failed to mention that Pakistan had proposed a Kashmir settlement along the lines of current boundaries with more autonomy for Kashmiris. It was Indian military that vetoed any deal with Pakistan on Kashmir.
"Informative but perhaps a bit biased"
Pakistan is made the villain in this book. Interpretation is quite biased. Book tells a story of US being naive and constantly being fooled by the Pakistanis. Writer's biases come out given his personal experiences with the Pakistani government and military.
"Engaging but biased"
Provides a brief overview of the relationship between India and Pakistan over the years.
The story gets more engaging when the author becomes a first hand witness to events.
Overall good with some minor issues with pronouncing Pakistani names correctly
The book has a lot of substance and devotes adequate amount time to each phase in the history. It would've been better if the author laid emphasis on the dates a tad more.
The author however clearly has an American bias. He portrays them as innocent and sometimes even naive in dealing with the Pakistani deception. One can't give clean chit to the US for its involvement in the affairs of other countries.
A very objective description of relationship between two countries which tried to use each other.
"must read (or listen)"
this book is stunning for its honesty and insight. provides amazing access into the Diplomatic history of the fraught us-pakistani relationship from consummate Pakistani Insider
"amazingly eye opening"
yes, the author is biased but who isn't. It's really sad to read about how a country was debilitated by it's politicians and military. If there was soem sensible leadership, India and pakistan would be more like korea and japan now.
The audio was very well done. Vision problems have made the comparison a moot point.
It was comprehensive and unbelievably even-handed on an explosively sensitive subject.
N.A. It was a first person account by the author.
I think the subtitle was quite apt.
The book was up to date, absorbing and surprisingly hopeful. Many years ago, I spent two years living in Pakistan as part of a medical research team. I have followed events very closely ever since then with a very skeptical eye. I always worried that the country might implode and drag the neighborhood and possibly the whole world down with it. Of course, Pakistan is not the only flash point; it's just one of the ones I am most familiar with. Additionally, I might add that the United States' involvement in that area of the world has been far from reassuring. The author's allusion to our mutual delusions is very well taken and very courageous.
"It it Delusions or Sleeping with the Enemy"
I opted to read this book with some skepticism - bordering prejudice - because of the author's switching sides between the two major polarized political parties of Pakistan. Not just that, he orchestrated his career so well that he enjoyed an ambassadorial position with each of the government in power. His standing was further compromised for his alleged involvement in writing a letter to Admiral Mullen to save Pakistan's democracy. I must hasten to add though that by the time I finished this book I was convinced that Mr. Haqqani wrote this book objectively and did not let his personal political life and ambitions eclipse writing about the thorny subject of US-Pakistan relationship.
I read (rather listened) this book for the very purpose of learning more about this sensitive relationship between the two countries that keeps swinging between the two extremes. Mr. Haqqani did a very good job by narrating this long saga (from 1947 to date) with details, facts and research. It sounds true and accurate and I find no reasons to suspect otherwise.
This comment is not a reflection on the book but I felt deeply embarrassed and belittled reading that Pakistan picked up the begging bowl right from its inception and never made a sincere effort to let go off it. Even the previous President, Mr. Zardari, was singing the same song – this time under the tune of a Marshall Plan. I wonder if the author, then an ambassador in US, had anything to orchestrate its melody. An irony again that after more half a century Pakistan and US relationship remains uncertain as ever, in that, they are neither trustworthy friends nor arch rivals.
This comment is essentially about its audio book version. I am not sure if the audio book version was somewhat flawed in the chronology but a few events narrated seemed out of calendar sequence. Also the narration itself lacked in energy and style, hence provided for rather monotonous listening.
The book however has to be judged for the quality and accuracy of its content and it scores high marks on that score.
"A pretty miserable tale, well told"
If you are interested in the story of Pakistan from independence (1947) to the present day (well, 2013) this book provides a wonderful sweep. For me it was one of those excellent books that packages all the snippets of news from my whole life time and groups and organises them into one comprehensible narrative. I'm not able to judge whether M. Haqqani is biased, but he certainly has been in the thick of Pakistani politics for many years (the book gets noticeably more lively once he moves from history to his first hand experiences), but he seems to be able to take a reasonably objective view of American and Pakistan's desires, beliefs, and errors. It is pretty downbeat, overall, delusions and misunderstanding indeed.
Warning - the book is detailed and sometimes seems repetitive (maybe that is history) so you really do have to be interested in the subject to pay attention through 14 hours.
Narrator was perfectly cast. The voice sounds like an educated foreign-office type with slightly Indian intonations. Fourteen hours of genuine Pakistani accented English would have been too tiring for this UK listener.
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