The Cruel Birth of Bangladesh: Memoirs of an American Diplomat
ROAD TO BANGLADESH SERIES is designed to present published accounts of the background to the emergence of Bangladesh. The Series showcases such a collection that, when put together, achieves a well-rounded narrative of the events of 1971. Books in the series should be an invaluable collection for those interested in South Asian affairs, particularly students and scholars of politics, history, development and social transformation.
The Cruel Birth of Bangladesh is an account of the emergence of Bangladesh seen through the eyes of a sympathetic American diplomat based in Dhaka during the gathering of the storm in 1970 leading to the War of Liberation in 1971. Archer Blood glorifies the independence struggle of Bangladesh as a "Transformation of seemingly forlorn Dream into a bright shining Reality". The book reflects a deep commitment to freedom on the part of the author and reads like an epitaph for the martyrs of struggle of the Bengali people. In 24 chapters the author chronicles the events of 1971 as he and the staff of the United States Mission in Dhaka saw them unfold. Blood had to wait until December 1998 for the State Department to declassify the documents, telegrams and other messages related to this period before he could use them. The story that emerges, portrays large and vastly important drama of the real protagonists of the period: General Yahya Khan, Z.A. Bhutto and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Blood attempts to explain how the three men handled the enormous pressures from onrushing events - from their own constituencies, from the other two, and from their own sense of personal duty and responsibilities. The structure of the book, therefore, swings from being both an intensely personal memoir to a serious account of the many aspects of Bangladesh crisis, which was later described by Henry Kissinger as perhaps the most complex and difficult issue to confront the first Nixon term.
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