Ö The Siege: The Attack on the Taj » Download by ☆ Adrian Levy This was a very good read The Terrorist attack on the Taj Hotel in Mumbai was scary enough just watching the news on TV but this book really gets inside the plot from the beginning stages when the boys were recruited, how it was planned, executed, what went wrong for the Terrorists, The Police, the guests It gives the accounts from staff perspective, the guest perspective, and the terrorist and police perspective and shows the bravery of both the staff, the guests, and the security forces inside The courage of all of those people who were doing the best they could to try to protect themselves and to get the guests to safety They were under the impression from news reports that there were attacks all over the city so they thought they were being attacked by a much larger force, but in reality it was about 10 teams of two It s an amazing story It was a fascinating read and I highly recommend it A few hours into their attack on the Taj Mumbai an exclusive five star hotel located in the Indian city of Mumbai , frustrated and tired terrorists complained to their Pakistani handler that they were getting bored waiting for Indian security forces to engage them One terrorist in fact said this was no fun The irritated handler told them to blow up portions of the hotel in the meantime For some reason they kept failing to do so, probably because they were too tired This is hilarious not if you were a hostage at the Taj Mumbai the terrorists were worn down not by the alacrity of the Indian security establishment, but by their inefficiency The NSG National Security Guard , a special forces unit of trained commandos had begun to mobilize in New Delhi, 20 minutes after the first shots were fired at the Taj But there was no plane to fly them to Mumbai Once the plane was procured, there was no machinery to load their kits onto the plane So the commandos had to do it manually They had to wait for their boss to pick up the Indian Home Secretary despite the Home Secretary being informed that this would lead to wastage of valuable time Once the plane carrying the NSG and the Home Secretary reached Mumbai, there was a large convoy of cars waiting for the Home Secretary But there was nobody to transport the NSG to the Taj Mumbai They had to unload their kit manually yet again This is the kind of uniquely Indian absurdity that would inspire cynical cartoonists and humorous columnists But cynicism and humor in India are often poor masks to hide tears of impotence Quite a few senior police officers of Mumbai police refused to engage the terrorists citing the reason of outdated weaponry The Mumbai Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor failed to follow procedure on many occasions much to the anger of senior officers who reported to him If procedure had been followed, hostages could have been saved and terrorists could have been trapped in one building by the time the NSG arrived The terrorist Ajmal Kasab was captured through the foolhardiness of unfit Mumbai policemen who were desperate enough to take on AK 47 carrying terrorists with their lathis and fists Without Kasab s confessions, it would have been tough for India to establish that the terrorists came from Pakistan It was not the elite commandos with modern weaponry who captured a terrorist alive, but Indian police a symbol of Indian mediocrity, wretchedness and inefficiency The Siege contains many such humbling revelations that I have listed above I liked the book s slow build up Like William Friedkin took time to introduce Demon Pasusu to us, Levy and Clark take a long time establishing characters mostly the Taj s staff and place there are long descriptions of the labyrinthine interiors of the Taj There are many Demon Pasusu s David Headley, the recce man who sold this project to the Lashkar would rival Anders Breivik for sheer wickedness and ingenuity even though he never killed anybody, Ajmal Kasab the brainwashed terrorist who later regretted his acts and the many faceless spooks within the Lashkar and Pakistan ISI I was working in Navi Mumbai a new built Mumbai suburb with its own malls, pubs, restaurants and slums that was becoming overpopulated when I left it in 2012 when this terrorist attack happened I remember some of my colleagues saying that the attack was a blessing in disguise because rich people were affected and hence something might actually get done This might seem callous But they were merely reacting to a larger Indian callousness and tendency to forget As V.
Naipaul pointed out No civilization was so little equipped to cope with the outside world no country was so easily raided and plundered, and learned so little from its disasters.
Quick Book Review The Siege by Cathy Scott Clark and Adrian LevyWhat s it about The 26 11 attack on Taj focussed on that specifically Good Things Breadth and Depth of Research both Primary and Secondary.
A google search on the references alone will blow ur socks off yet a humble acknowledgement from the writer duo that such deep trauma often twists recollection of reality and hence versions of the same event could be different opposed Narrative chronology and veracity verified by cctv coverage, transcripts of conversation between terrorists and handlers and also by text messages of survivors.
Secondly, page turning writing esp for a non fiction book A ticktock acccount after the first 50 pages this book is totally Un putdownable.
Bad Things First 50 pages are terribly written Please skim through and have hope Excessive details sometimes which get into the private lifes of those deceased Also at places gets over dramatic Loses sharpness in last 30 pages of the story but picks up in conclusion.
All in All a must read book but not for the faint hearted.
If you plan to read this book please choose an appropriate time recommend weekend Will keep you up at night Undoubtedly one of the best non fiction which reads very much like fiction of 2013.
This is an account of the terrorist siege in Mumbai, India in November 2008 There were ten terrorists, well trained and well armed, who attacked a major railroad station, a restaurant, a Jewish Chabab House, and two large hotels They killed 166 people and over 300 hundred were wounded Anyone in the vicinity of this heinous attack had their lives transformed forever They killed indiscriminately, firing their AK47s into large crowds, maiming and killing young and old, poor and rich, women and children.
This book details the siege at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel chosen deliberately because it is a landmark in India We are given eyewitness descriptions of what took place and most interestingly a background to this terrorist attack One of the members was captured alive and immediately revealed much information.
The attack originated and was planned over several months in Pakistan The terrorist group is called Lashkar e Toiba and they are directly supported by Pakistan s ISI the intelligence network After the attack, with the obvious links to Pakistan, an internal Pakistani investigation ensued This ended abruptly when the chief lawyer and prosecutor was killed in Islamabad So once again Pakistan is a difficult country with several halls of mirrors all vicious and protracted.
We are also provided with a most interesting portrait of an American Pakistani his mother American, his father Pakistani named David Headley aka Daood Saleem Gilani He scouted and mapped out the areas, like the Taj Hotel, for Lashkar e Toiba months before the attacks took place.
I also got a very uncomfortable feeling for the security and policing arrangements in Mumbai one of the twenty largest cities in the world The closest SWAT team was a three hour flight away For over 24 hours the terrorists, who were equipped with AK47 s, grenades and explosive devices were merely confronted by a few policemen with glock pistols and antiquated rifles The people in the hotel coped as well as they could they were essentially on their own for many, many long horrifying hours.
This book provides us with a dark view of the new age we live in We have a foreground the events that happened and a background of the misguided people who organized this carnage.
Pop history in the vein of Black Hawk Down Well written, well researched Brings home the horror and cold blooded evil of the attack very well A bit thin in the afterword section In fact, surprisingly so Considering how much research the two authors seem to have managed, a little information about what happened or did not happen in the aftermath would have been nice PS the authors show the full horror of the attack as well as all the ineptitude and bungling in the Indian response and a lot of heroism as well , but say very little about the unusual nature of the terrorist network that produced this horror That their aims and abilities are above average is one thing, but that the state support they receive also goes beyond the norm is never explicitly stated This is a mistake If you have gone to the trouble of writing this book and feel so strongly about it, its good to put in perspective as wellto bring out the novelty and shock of the new and the worse about this network and its supporters.
I only got 1 2 way Insanity coupled with incompetence it s just too dire for me to want to read any When will this threat of fanatic jihad be seen for what it is Since 9 11 or this horrid, horrid event inside The Taj, nor numbers of other bombings and massacres of innocent victims on 3 or 4 continents doesn t seem to have rung any of the right bells now, I do despair.
They are continually soliciting killer volunteers every day from Europe and the Americas on the internet for this exact kind of work And getting 10,000 takers a year from a Reuters report, I just read Looking at the lives of the terrorists themselves in these last days before this siege in this book Complete insanity structured by nice family men for the proper ways to say good bye It s too stomach turning to continue reading for me And we argue and hold hubris about use of language or team names or offense Being blown up or tortured is a fairly larger offense, and is given a tsk tsk or deemed in the same fairness arena Bread and circuses here in the USA are coupled with a don t look behind the curtain politico in free world countries We are living right now in a fantasy land about this fanatic Islamic movement Our government reaction dwells in a place similar to a cross between types of distraction from the latter days of Rome coupled with The Wizard of Oz orchestration Hate abounds, and it seems it is blind to any other alternative but theirs It is as real as dirt and sky And it is coming And I wouldn t be at all surprised that my grandchildren will have to deal with its consequences as my Father s did with the Nazis.
Review to come soon Meticulously researched by authors Cathy Scott Clark and Adrian Levy, The Siege 68 Hours Inside The Taj Hotel is a riveting account of the Nov 26, 2008, terrorist attack on Mumbai, India, by ten young Pakistani men affiliated with the group Lashkar e Toiba.
The staff of the Taj Hotel men and women who were chefs, waiters, restaurant managers and security personnel performed countless acts of heroism during the siege and many sacrificed themselves so that others could escape Although ill prepared materially for the attack some patrolmen were armed with pre World War II bolt action rifles, others only with bamboo canes many of the Mumbai police displayed exceptional valor and commitment while attempting to stop men armed with assault rifles, grenades and plastic explosives.
The narrative is gripping, filled with tension and stories of heroism and heartbreak In turns the reader will experience dread, triumph, tragedy and simmering frustration at the inadequate response by city, state and national authorities Mumbai was not prepared for the violence these ten men visited upon it, which is all the staggering given its proximity to Pakistan and prior record of terrorist bombing activity.
I give full credit to the authors, as they tell a highly complex story interweaving the personal stories of a dozen or people swept up in the attack in a natural, eminently readable style I ve seen this book favorably compared to Mark Bowden s Black Hawk Down an assessment I wholeheartedly agree with Veteran investigative reporters well versed in the region, Scott Clark and Levy provide insight into the motivations of the Lashkar e Toiba and the different paths the ten men took to get to the point where they were stepping off a boat on the shores of India, bent on killing and sowing terror Without relying on a linear timeline, the narrative shifts seamlessly between various eyewitnesses and participants, with some events told from multiple perspectives.
Although the attack against Mumbai involved targets than the Taj Hotel, as the title suggests the luxury hotel is the prime focus of this book The events at the Trident Oberoi Hotel, train station and Chabad House are referred to, but not examined in detail The narrower focus doesn t make this book any less critical to understanding what happened future readers should just be aware it is not all encompassing.
I highly recommend it.
2 Puff up my chest and say that even after this mayhem, India saved a lot of hostages and the battle no matter how bloody it turned out to be, was a victory.
However, I am not going to take either of these routes Instead I wanted to put into words a few images that I can recollect which are closely linked to this incident This review has nothing to do with the book and yes you have been warned 1 26 November 2008 It was close to 11 PM and I had my nose buried in some book My mobile phone lights up with a text from a friend which saysTurn on the TV Something s happening in MumbaiWith no inkling as to what is going on, I did as I was asked to and got the first glimpses of what was to become a fever that gripped the country for the next three days What the news told me first was that it was a series of explosions and knowing Mumbai for what it was, I went off to sleep thinking it would all be normal by morning It wasn t I still remember the first thing I heard the next day from the TVMumbai situation Army DeployedEvery minute at office and home for the next few days was of updates from the media A colleague of mine runs to us as we are wrapping up a meeting in office and saysPardon me for barging in but they have rescued all the hostages at the TajWe all cheered at the top of our voices.
The National Security Guard NSG commandos who led the rescue operation became overnight heroes In the days that followed, there were kids who tried jumping from heights and hurt themselves reenacting the way they saw the commandos rappel down to Nariman house in Mumbai The violence left a lot of people bristling, armchair generals who wanted immediate war with Pakistan Then again there were the armchair commandos among us who sat at home and dissected the operation saying they should have gone this way or that way or shot at the terrorists in this fashion, all from the comfort of their living rooms As it happens in India, all this was forgotten in a day or two 2 Late 2012 It was the second day of a national conference I was attending and we were all fresh after lunch and at the verge of sleep The next speaker of the day was a middle aged man who looked rather inconspicuous He introduced himself as the VP HR of the Taj group and without preamble began by saying thatI was there in 2008 when it happened at the TajThe crowd slowly quietened down Following this, in a very calm and unpretentious way and without the aid of a presentation he delivered a stunning account of what happened as a business group s management team watched its flagship property being destroyed and its employees being massacred He told us about men and women who gave up their lives trying to protect their customers There was an anecdote he recounted of a waiter in one of the dining rooms who helped 32 diners escape from the burning room before being cut down by a hail of bullets from the terrorists He looked at us and saidThe man would have earned in a month what some of you here earn in a half day or a day Yet he showed no hesitation to put his life on the lineThe management team went to visit his widow days later in a small one room apartment who politely refused the compensation offered to her She put her arms around her young son and saidSir thank you for the money but I cannot take it I want my son to aspire to be like his father and nothing elseHe continued in this vein telling us of all that happened and how the TATA group finally emerged from this pit of despair with all its employees rallying around it in the hour of need Somewhere as he went along, the first tear rolled down my cheek Suddenly self conscious, I wiped it away to see almost everyone in the room in a similar state No one made an effort to hide their tears and when finally the man finished speaking, we gave him and the team a standing ovation To this day, nothing has moved me as much as that 20 minute speech 3 April 2013 I stood before the Taj hotel leaning on a brick lined railing and looking up at the mighty structure There were no signs anywhere from what happened 5 years ago I looked behind me at the sea where fishing boats bobbed and tourists clamoured on passenger boats en route to the Elephants caves For those of you who have not been to Mumbai, it might tough to explain how much grandeur and the daily humdrum of life intermingle at this place To your one side is the majestic gateway of India and the Taj hotel to the other side The streets are filled with tourists and vendors and the place is never quiet even for a second To my one side stood a bunch of school goers, happily snapping selfies in front of the hotel and to my other side was a teenaged couple with their hands entwined and smiling that happy smile of being in love A tea vendor strolled over to me askingSaab, chaismiling a toothless smile I could only wonder how fast the scars would have healed for the Mumbaikar.
Later that day, I sat in Cafe Leopold where the senseless shooting had begun There are still scars and bullets lodged in the pillars and the wall of this place and a waiter who caught me staring at them smiled and nodded before walking along on his errand Mumbai always comes back to normal, no matter how much anyone tries to hurt the sense of life in her Winner Of The CWA Nonfiction Dagger Award, The Definitive Account Of The Terrorist Attacks In MumbaiMumbai, On The Night Of November , 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 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 TollWith 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