Stranger to History

Stranger to History
A Son's Journey through Islamic Lands
Aatish Taseer

"Stranger to History is a prophetic book. As Taseer recalls his eight-month journey in Pakistan, Turkey, Syria, and Iran, he witnesses intimations of turmoil to come: the anger leading up to the Arab Spring, the faces of the now suppressed Green Revolution following the disputed election of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the atrocities of the Assad regime. Moving and exceedingly relevant."—Booklist

"The root problem, the 'violent imposition of religious perfection on the modern world, driven to illogic,' forms the core of Taseer's illuminating book, one in which questions of religion, culture, and history undergird the author's absorbing quest for familial and spiritual enlightenment."—The Boston Globe

About the Book

“Indispensable reading for anyone who wants a wider understanding of the Islamic world, of its history and its politics.”—Financial Times

Aatish Taseer’s fractured upbringing left him with many questions about his own identity. Raised by his Sikh mother in Delhi, his father, a Pakistani Muslim, remained a distant figure. Stranger to History is the story of the journey he made to try to understand what it means to be Muslim in the twenty-firstcentury. Starting from Istanbul, Islam’s once greatest city, he travels to Mecca, its most holy, and then home through Iran and Pakistan. Ending in Lahore, at his estranged father’s home, on the night Benazir Bhutto was killed, it is also the story of Taseer’s divided family over the past fifty years. Recent events have added a coda to Stranger to History, as his father was murdered by a political assassin. A new introduction by the author reflects on how this event changes the impact of the book, and why its message is more relevant than ever.

Additional Reviews

“Taseer launches into a fact-finding quest to uncover his ancestral roots, the holy core of his religion, and what it means to be a Muslim in this century, including dialogues with young radicalized extremists, intellectuals, gays, and traditionalists, stopping in London, Istanbul, Damascus, and Pakistan. The author’s awe of sacred Mecca and prickly spiritual questions about his faith form the spine of this book, along with the political and religious contradictions of Pakistan and the tragic untimely death of Benazir Bhutto.”—Publishers Weekly

"A poignant journey through Muslim lands by a half-indian, half-Muslim son attempting to find answers to his paternal identity. . . . [and] A brave, cleareyed look at the contemporary flourishing of Islam."—Kirkus

"This well-constructed travel memoir offers subtle political insight, well-drawn characters, lush detail, and poignant personal narrative. A welcome blend of journalism, travel writing, and memoir; strongly recommended."—Library Journal