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Schmidle, Nicholas, To Live or to Perish Forever: Two Tumultuous Years in Pakistan (New York: Henry Holt, 2009).

A gritty, lively, and revelatory look inside the crucial and volatile nation of Pakistan

In 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 own.

In February 2006 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.


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Studies in Travel Writing (journal)
Centre for Travel Writing Studies (Nottingham Trent University)

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