A Sikh member of the Indian Army Services Corps at Dunkirk, 1940

Britain didn’t fight the second world war — the British empire did

Had it not been for the empire, Britain might have lost the second world war, says William Dalrymple. The war certainly lost Britain the empire


Owen Sheers disregards the first commandment of novel-writing: to show, not tell

This is a thriller, a novel of betrayal and separation, and a reverie on death and grieving. The only key…


Nation-builders on a sticky wicket: the farce and heroism of Pakistani cricket

There is farce in Peter Oborne’s history of cricket in Pakistan. An impossible umpire is abducted by drunken English tourists…

Lord Mountbatten discloses Britain's partition plan for India Photo: Getty

Hope for one of the most turbulent, traumatised regions in the world

John Keay’s excellent new book on the modern history of South Asia plunges the reader head first into some wildly…


Malala's voice is defiant — but how much can she change Pakistan? 

In 2012 a Taleban gunman, infuriated by Malala Yousafzai’s frequent television appearances insisting that girls had a right to education,…

Dangerous territory

Fifteen years ago Ahmed Rashid wrote an original, groundbreaking and wonderful book about the Taleban, a subject about which few…

Pakistan: A Personal History by Imran Khan

Imran Khan’s Pakistan: A Personal History describes his journey from playboy cricketer through believer and charity worker to politician. His…

The enemy within

The most telling figure in Carey Schofield’s book on the Pakistan army is Faisal Alavi, a major general who was murdered in November 2008.

Imperfect working order

The publication of Pakistan: A Hard Country could not be more timely.


Blood relatives

The last time I saw Benazir Bhutto was at Oxford, over champagne outside the Examination Schools, when she inquired piercingly of a subfusc linguist, ‘Racine? What is Racine?’ Older and richer than most undergraduates, and as a Harvard graduate presumably better educated, she was already world famous, and was obviously not at Oxford to learn about classical tragedy.

Division and misrule

‘The 20th century was not kind to Pakistan’, Tariq Ali says in the first sentence of his latest book on his native land.