But the seduction was mutual and undeniable all along. The problem was not really an overbearing father or an overly enthusiastic press. In the end, Malala was shot because no one, not the Pakistani news media, not the reporters and editors in the American and international press, and not the Yousafzais, recognized how potent a weapon the media had become in the war in Pakistan. This lack of recognition—some might even call it denial—is something that puts all journalists, as well as their sources, in mortal danger every day in Pakistan.

Malala, in the end, appears to be the wisest. In the acknowledgements of her book, which is likely the only section over which she had complete control (Lamb had her own acknowledgements section), she thanks “everyone in Pakistan and all round the world” who prayed for her. She mentions more than two-dozen people and organizations by name. She thanks a motley crew of characters, from the bus driver who drove her to school to Angelina Jolie and Ban Ki Moon—even the chief of the Pakistani army. She thanks her nurse, Fiona Alexander, for handling the media so well. And while she does thank Lamb for “turning into reality what was just a dream,” Malala mentions no other journalist. 

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Shahan Mufti teaches journalism at the University of Richmond. He is the author of The Faithful Scribe: A Story of Islam, Pakistan, Family, and War.