Review: Daughter of the East: An Autobiography by Benazir Bhutto

images (1)Title: Daughter of the East: An Autobiography
Author: Benazir Bhutto
Published: April 28th 2008 (originally published January 1st 1988)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (UK)
Pages: 464
ISBN: 1847390854

Synopsis
Beautiful, charismatic, and the first and only woman to lead a post-colonial Muslim state, Benazir Bhutto achieved international renown in her native Pakistan until charges of corruption forced her into exile in the late 1990s. From her upbringing in one of Pakistan’s richest families to her subsequent politicization and her arrest following her father’s execution, Bhutto’s autobiography chronicles a life of strength, dedication, and courage in the face of adversity. This updated volume addresses her personal and political activities over the past two decades and how her country has changed since being thrust into international limelight following 9/11. Intriguing and impassioned, this is the life story of one of the most prominent female politicians of the 20th century.

Review
After having read this book, as well as Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West, I am convinced that every woman, regardless of their social background or religious belief, should read this book. Apart from teaching the reader quite a bit about Pakistan’s development from the moment it became an independent nation, up until the present day, it is an impressive and often shocking tale of a woman struggling for justice and peace. Time and time again this book proves that the strength of mankind is stronger than we can imagine. Personally, I think it is at times unbelievable what people are willing to, and capable of enduring for the sake of their honour and beliefs.

Benazir Bhutto, her family, friends, and her political supporters have spent years in the most pitiful and horrendous of circumstances, but never once did their strength or dedication falter. They stood tall and held on to their beliefs and hope for a better future, even when a positive outcome seemed impossible.

Apart from the horrendous atrocities suffered by the people described in this book, and the cruelties they had to endure, I think this is an inspirational book that women all around the world would benefit from reading. Benazir Bhutto’s life story shows that women can do anything they want, as long as they put their mind to it and don’t get discouraged by occasional setbacks. After having been imprisoned for many years, and having been opposed in every possible way by Pakistan’s military regime, she still managed to become a democratically elected Prime Minister, and the first female Prime Minister of a Muslim country, a triumph! In spite of years spent in exile, suffering death threats aimed at her and her family, and the decade long imprisonment of her husband, she soldiered on, and would certainly have been re-elected Prime Minister, if she hadn’t been assassinated on December 27, 2007. Had she been re-elected, she might have been able to pull Pakistan back from the verge of the abyss. As it stands now, nothing has changed, and a great and inspirational life was sadly lost in the process.

The book is beautifully written, and no matter how horrible the circumstances she is describing, Bhutto never fails to remain modest and show compassion. She never demeans herself or her supporters, no matter what atrocities or suffering the opposing regime inflicted on them.

I would recommend anyone to read this book, even if you don’t know much about Pakistan and its history. It will be certain to shock, impress, and possibly inspire you.

My rating: heartheartheartheartheart

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