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The Siege: 68 Hours Inside the Taj Hotel by…
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The Siege: 68 Hours Inside the Taj Hotel

by Cathy Scott-Clark, Adrian Levy

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Topic itself is interesting but the way it is presented is confusing and botched. The authors attempt to do too much in the space they have, they flit from character to character with little in the way of reminding the reader of who they are/what they do. This takes the reader out of the story, having to go back to the front and remind yourself who that person is. It makes for a jarring and disjointed reading experience. Personally to compare this to Black Hawk Down is erroneous and misguided, BHD is written far better than this. ( )
  Luftwaffe_Flak | Feb 7, 2014 |
The Siege: 68 Hours Inside the Taj Hotel is an unusually compelling non-fictional account of the notorious 2008 attacks in Mumbai, which captured the world's attention. I can corroborate the word of other commentators who praise the depth of research by authors Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrien Levy; the level of detail they have compiled is incredible. Moreover, you can count me as one of crowd who found this book to be an absolutely absorbing pageturner; it was more compelling than many well-written thrillers for which I have a voracious literary appetite. This is a reading experience that will definitely entertain as it informs -- and excites, frightens, and above all, engrosses you.

The rich detail The Siege conveys while maintaining a seamlessly fast paced narrative of the events in question distinguish it as a unique achievement of its authors as much as a find for its readers. However, the genre here is of course not thriller fiction; this is non-fiction, investigative journalism about real happenings that impacted real people. Certainly, the measure of the quality of such a work must be greater than its ability to absorb and entertain its readers; it must be a fitting representation of some important truth.

I find that the authors take too many literary liberties in presenting the facts to be true to the heart of the factual material. Principally, details are fictionalized or at least stylized for the explicit purpose of imitating novelistic techniques used to hook readers' interest in the given author's designed plot.

The opening lines of The Siege's "Prologue" provide a strong example of this phenomenon: "A sliver of moon hung over the Arabian sea as the dinghy powered towards 'The Queen's Necklace'...The ten-man crew of Pakistani fighters rode the black waves in silence, listening to the thrum of the outboard motor...[their supplies] barely seemed enough to take on the world's fourth-largest city..." (p. 1).

Here, the authors flesh out the characters of the perpetrators by fictionalizing their experience prior to the attacks, and they highlight Mumbai's glamour and importance in order to highlight the importance of the action to come for the primarily Western/Western-oriented audience of the book. Make of it what you will; it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I conclude that these techniques fall flat at best, and at worst, they strike this reader as downright unseemly when used to frame life-and-death deciding moments in the lives of real human beings such as form the basis of the nonfictional story at hand. Despite the fine journalistic detail and exceptionally compelling presentation, I must give this account of the terrorism in Mumbai a deeply ambivalent review.

Please be advised I received my copy of this book through a Goodreads book giveaway. ( )
  kara.shamy | Jan 9, 2014 |
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Cathy Scott-Clarkprimary authorall editionscalculated
Levy, Adrianmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143123750, Hardcover)

In the page-turning tradition of Black Hawk Down, the definitive account of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai

Mumbai, 2008. On the night of November 26, Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists attacked targets throughout the city, including the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, one of the world’s most exclusive luxury hotels. For sixty-eight hours, hundreds were held hostage as shots rang out and an enormous fire raged. When the smoke cleared, thirty-one people were dead and many more had been injured. Only the courageous actions of staff and guests—including Mallika Jagad, Bob Nichols, and Taj general manager Binny Kang—prevented a much higher death toll.

With a deep understanding of the region and its politics and a narrative flair reminiscent of Midnight in Peking, journalists Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy vividly unfold the tragic events in a real-life thriller filled with suspense, tragedy, history, and heroism.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:04 -0400)

Describes what took place during the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai when terrorists assailed the luxurious Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and how the combined efforts of courageous staff and guests helped keep the death toll down.

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