Taseer is by profession a journalist, and while that comes through in his ability to ask the right questions of people, his writing style is far more personal than you'd expect from a reporter. He makes no pretense about this being an objective study of Islam; rather it's a personal voyage undertaken in the hopes of bridging the gap between himself and the father he was estranged from for over 20 years, and that comes across in his writing. His yearning to understand both his father and the religion he professes to practice, and the frustration and confusion they generate in him, predominate throughout the book as he intersperses accounts of his travels with recollections of his attempts to find common ground with his father.
In many ways this is one of the bravest books you'll ever read, as Taseer doesn't hesitate to voice opinions that are going to be unpopular with people at all ends of the political spectrum. His compassion for the people he meets allows him to see beyond their words to the need that gives them birth, giving the reader a deeper understanding of where their opinions were born. The title of the book, Stranger To History, refers obviously to Taseer's ignorance of his father and his Muslim and Pakistani inheritance. However, it can also relate to what he has witnessed in his journeys in Syria and Iran where history is being rewritten to generate hatred against the West in order to solidify the current regime's power bases. While he doesn't offer any solutions or comfort that there is some easy way to change or prevent what is happening, hope can be taken from his time spent in, of all places, Iran in the people's determination to deny the regime in any small way they can.
Although his attempt to reconcile his own history with his father is somewhat of a failure, Taseer consoles himself with the fact that he has been able to connect with his personal history of being a product of both parts of the Indian subcontinent. By having both countries he has had the chance of "embracing the three tier history of India whole, perhaps an intellectual troika of Sanskrit, Urdu, and English. These mismatches were the lot of people with garbled histories, but I preferred them to violent purities. The world is richer for its hybrids." While he may not have come any closer to discovering his father, or his father's religion, he has discovered himself.