In the Line of Fire is the sort of book that’s worth your money. For a book written by a President/Dictator still in power, its contents are truly unprecedented. For they may be inaccurate or colored to suit the author, but they do create a window into Pakistan and the mind of its leader, the irrepressible General Pervez Musharraf.
The book makes one thing crystal clear. Musharraf, when he was a baby, accidently fell into a cauldron of testosterone. If he didn’t, he sure wishes he had, and any statement, repeated oft enough, becomes true. So the book is an interesting documentation of the thinking process of an out-and-out alpha male.
It also serves a grim reminder, that it very easily could have been written by someone else. Musharraf has already survived two assassination attempts.
His description of the coup against Nawaz Sharif (or in his own words, the the counter coup) reads like something out of Forsyth or Ludlum (no, its not that bad actually). And here we see Musharraf preening his feathers and parading his plumage in all its smartness. When he describes how the coup was led by officers in command of various battalions around Pakistan, all appointed personally by him, from a pool of obseqious juniors and relatives, and all of this when he was incommunicado, in mid-air between Sri-Lanka and Pakistan, I couldn’t help visualizing a smirking Musharraf twirling his moustache and declaring triumphantly, “So who’s got the biggest one, eh?”