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Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi (2011)

por Steve Inskeep

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976218,285 (3.9)2
Analyzes the growing metropolis of Karachi, Pakistan, including the importance of regional stability to American security interests, the terrorist bombing of a Shia religious procession, and the challenging religious, ethnic, and political divides.
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The book really wasn't what I expected it to be. I was under the impression that the book was about the December 2009 bombing in Karachi as based on the back of the book and other sources that I read about.

Instead, Inskeep takes a look at the city--how it came to be what it is in the present day. I listen to him on NPR and follow him on Twitter and fully expected to come away liking the book. Instead it's a pretty dry reading. Some of his writing is quite engaging, but as I realized that the book was not quite what I thought it would be, I lost interest.

While the stories he tells and the people he meets are interesting and give a much richer view of Karachi and its citizens, overall I just felt the telling just did not hold together. I couldn't say if he's accurate or how severe the "White Man's Gaze" is, but I just found it to be really boring. It's clear the book is well-researched and Inskeep put in the effort. But I don't feel he accomplished what he was trying to do.

If you are from Karachi (or Pakistan) or have a general interest in the area, it might be a good pick up. But don't expect much on politics or about Islam (although there is some discussion about religion, considering the event that helped trigger this book was a bombing of a Shia religious event). Otherwise, library if you're really interested. ( )
  HoldMyBook | Feb 11, 2018 |
A portrayal of the city of karachi from its humble beginnings as a small fishing and trading village to the present city of nearly 20 million souls. The city epitomizes everything that is wrong with the country and makes for some very dreary reading
  danoomistmatiste | Jan 24, 2016 |
A portrayal of the city of karachi from its humble beginnings as a small fishing and trading village to the present city of nearly 20 million souls. The city epitomizes everything that is wrong with the country and makes for some very dreary reading
  kkhambadkone | Jan 17, 2016 |
The author provides a comprehensive picture of Karachi and it's brilliant in the amount of people and places that describes, at the same time that large amount of characters and places makes the book lack structure. ( )
  emed0s | Jul 10, 2013 |
KARACHI is a new type of city - rising from obscurity as a 19th century village under the English Raj, to a major colonial outpost, to the capital of one of the world's most populous nations, having swollen to 30 times its 1940s population by 2010.

This journalistic snapshot of Karachi not only provides a portrait of the life and history of this unique city, but also some theories about other developing cities - Urumqi, Manila, Dhaka, Mexico City, Lagos, and so forth.

Karachi, and other such cities, are cities of multitudes and contrasts - the confluence of populations and ethnicities in a previously homogeneous city, religious and ethnic tensions, economic ambitions in contrast to utter poverty. Contrasts abound. Even the founder of the nation, Jinnah, is a complex man, as befitting his creation.

Understanding these new cities offers a chance of understanding the new world we are seeing. The anecdotes and local flavor are very interesting - recommended for those who want a glimpse into Pakistan. ( )
1 vote HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Analyzes the growing metropolis of Karachi, Pakistan, including the importance of regional stability to American security interests, the terrorist bombing of a Shia religious procession, and the challenging religious, ethnic, and political divides.

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