In This Review

In the Line of Fire: A Memoir
In the Line of Fire: A Memoir
By Pervez Musharraf
Simon & Schuster, 2006, 368 pp

Pakistan, the second-largest Muslim state (after Indonesia), a nuclear power, and an uneasy neighbor of India, Afghanistan, and Iran, is fated to play a demanding diplomatic game -- one never more demanding nor more in the public eye than in the years after 9/11. This is the autobiography of the professional military officer who has been calling the shots for Pakistan since 1999, when he seized power in what he calls a "counter coup." As with any memoir by a public figure, especially one still in power, this is more an apologia than a rounded history, but it is an especially good example of the genre. It reveals clearly the mindset of this military man and addresses openly major issues: Musharraf's controversial role in the 1999 Kargil conflict, which brought Pakistan to the brink of full-scale war with India; the case of the Pakistani nuclear scientist A. Q. Khan; the promising but ultimately disappointing negotiations with India; and, most of all, the changed relations with Islamists at home and abroad provoked by the post-9/11 American appeal (or ultimatum).