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Broken Threads: My Family From Empire to Independence

By Mishal Husain

‘I witnessed the dwindling glow of the British Empire. I saw small men entrusted with great jobs, playing with the destiny of millions’

Mishal Husain always knew that the lives of her four grandparents changed forever in 1947, as the new nation states of India and Pakistan were born. But what she had was a partial story, a patchwork of memories and anecdotes: hurried departures, lucky escapes from violence and homes never seen again.

Decades later, the fragment of an old sari sent her on a journey through time using letters, diaries, memoirs and audio tapes to trace four lives shaped by the Raj, a world war, independence and partition.

Mumtaz rejects the marriage arranged for him as he forges a life with Mary, a devout Catholic from a struggling Anglo-Indian family, while Tahirah and Shahid watch the politics of pre-partition Delhi unfold at close quarters. As freedom comes, bonds fray and communities are divided, leaving two couples to forge new identities, while never forgetting the shared heritage of the past.

‘This book feels like vital history…One of the best memoirs I’ve read in years’ SATHNAM SANGHERA, author of Empireworld

‘This is the most important and accessible book I have ever read about the days leading up to and surrounding the partition of India’ JOANNA LUMLEY

‘You’re going to be utterly enchanted by this meticulously researched story of [Mishal’s] family set against the backdrop of partition, end of empire and the trauma of upheaval’ JON SOPEL

Format: Hardback
Release Date: 06 Jun 2024
Pages: 336
ISBN: 978-0-00-853168-3
Price: £18.99 (Export Price) , £18.99, €None
Mishal Husain is a broadcaster, journalist and interviewer whose work has taken her from elections and royal events to refugee camps and filming documentaries. She presents BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme and Today Debates, as well as the TV news on BBC1. Her first book was The Skills: How to Win at Work.

”'At times this book feels like vital history, which just happens to read like a great novel. At other times, it reads like a novel that just happens to inform us about great history. The prose is always clear and the characters are unforgettable. One of the best memoirs I've read in years” - SATHNAM SANGHERA, author of Empireworld

”'This is the most important and accessible book I have ever read about the days leading up to and surrounding the partition of India. I read it as one would a thriller, a page-turner; a fabulous achievement by a skilled writer, packed with facts but floating like a butterfly. I cannot recommend it strongly enough” - JOANNA LUMLEY

”'If you love Mishal’s broadcasting, you’re going to be utterly enchanted by this meticulously researched story of her family set against the backdrop of partition, end of empire and the trauma of upheaval” - JON SOPEL

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PRAISE FOR MISHAL HUSAIN: -

'She has quietly earned a reputation as one of the country’s most formidable political interviewers. Fellow broadcasters admire her precision - and politicians admit that the prospect of facing her questions makes them uneasy' GUARDIAN -