To Live or to Perish Forever

Two Tumultuous Years in Pakistan
Published:   May 2009
ISBN: 0805089381 | 272 pages
With the intimacy and good humor available only to the most fearless and open-eyed reporters, Schmidle narrates this turbulent period of Pakistan's recent history, a time when Americans began to realize that Pakistan's fate is inextricably linked with our own.

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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 this turbulent period of Pakistan's recent history, a time when Americans began to realize that Pakistan's fate is inextricably linked with our own.

Publishers Weekly

February 2, 2009

Journalist Schmidle offers a gripping, grim account of his two years as a journalism fellow in Pakistan, where his travels took him into the most isolated and unfriendly provinces, and into the thick of interests and beliefs that impede that nation's peace and progress. The author reports on the murky relationship between the Pakistani intelligence agencies and the Taliban and how American bombings have actually helped the Taliban gain influence in the border regions. While Schmidle amplifies the danger an unstable Pakistan poses to its neighbors and the world, he also turns a constructively critical eye back to American support of mujahideen during the Afghan war against the Soviets and shows how American intervention was both a help and an exacerbation of problems between Pakistan and Afghanistan. As a witness to Musharraf's last days in power and the rage that followed Bhutto's assassination, Schmidle has, with this effort, established himself as a fresh, eloquent and informed contributor to the ongoing dialogue regarding Pakistan, terrorism and the strategic importance of engaging Central Asia in efforts toward peace and stability.

Additional Praise for To Live or to Perish Forever

“A riveting read by an intrepid reporter in one of the world’s most dangerous countries. Nicholas Schmidle has written a must-read book to understand turbulent but pivotal Pakistan. He crosses paths with extremists, witnesses flashpoints that transformed regional politics and, most important, makes sense of the complex challenges in south Asia. A marvelous piece of work.”
--Robin Wright, author of Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East

“To Live or to Perish Forever is foreign correspondence of the very best kind – the account of a natural traveler who has the language skills, temerity, and eyesight to arrive where outsiders rarely go and then to report revealingly on what he sees and hears. This is a personal, informative, empathetic, surprising, and entertaining book that illuminates Pakistan, a country of vital interest to the wider world.”
--Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars and The Bin Ladens

“Nicholas Schmidle's portrait of Pakistan is worth more than a whole stack of intelligence reports. From remote Swat to teeming Karachi, he humanizes this labyrinthine country--where real danger has grown while the world focused elsewhere. Schmidle's blend of history and travelogue is by turns poignant and terrifying, but always relevant, always engaging, and more urgent now than ever."
--Nathaniel Fick, author of the New York Times bestseller One Bullet Away