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The Siege: 68 Hours Inside The Taj Hotel

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  1,249 Ratings  ·  188 Reviews
Winner of the CWA Nonfiction Dagger Award, 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
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 29th 2013 by Penguin Books (first published October 1st 2013)
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Oct 10, 2013 Veeral rated it it was amazing

Let’s talk about incompetence.

Political incompetency is not a new thing for India. In fact, Indian politicians would make a clean sweep of Gold, Silver, and Bronze if there was such a thing as “The Incompetency Olympics”.

Talks about 26/11 terrorist attacks of Mumbai usually start with the involvement of Pakistani rogue intelligence agency, ISI, the terrorist organization, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and end with the only captured terrorist, Ajmal Kasab (hanged on 21st November 2012). What people don’t talk
Arun Divakar
Feb 09, 2014 Arun Divakar rated it really liked it
There are two ways in which I could write this review :

1. Tell you about the incompetency of the system which allowed such a brazen act of terrorism on Indian soil to escalate to previously unseen levels. Right from the botched up handling of external and domestic intelligence handling to the readiness of the police, the security groups or the nation there are countless things I can talk about.

2. Puff up my chest and say that even after this mayhem, India saved a lot of hostages and the battle n
Omar Ali
Nov 06, 2013 Omar Ali rated it really liked it
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 more 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 respons
Mikey B.
Feb 03, 2014 Mikey B. rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Scott Whitmore
Nov 04, 2013 Scott Whitmore rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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-pr
Dec 10, 2013 Subroto rated it it was amazing
Quick Book Review : The Siege by Cathy Scott - Clark and Adrian Levy

What'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
Kerry Reilly
Nov 30, 2013 Kerry Reilly rated it it was amazing
Reading this book while staying in the Taj Palace just after the 5yr anniversary of the 26/11 attack is cool but scary. This is to Mumbai what 9/11 is to New Yorkers. I saw a man this morning bristling at the tight security- but halfway through the book I now understand why Indian five star hotels look under cars with mirrors, x-ray bags, and send people through metal detectors to get in the lobby. Actually what is scary is how haphazard a lot of the security is, unarmed hotel guards waving peop ...more
Oct 07, 2013 Kara rated it liked it
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-writte ...more
Sheetal Maurya (Halo of Books)
The terrible attack on the evergreen Mumbai, an economic hub of the country. The ghastly flame from the iconic Taj Hotel, CST railway station filled with the blood of passenger, family crying for their loved ones. I think all these images are still fresh in the mind of Indians. 26/11 was one of the most dreading attacks in the world. It not only shook the entire world but it also shows how much terrorism has spread its roots. This book is an honest retelling of the siege of Taj Hotel on 26 Novem ...more
Anil Swarup
Mar 12, 2014 Anil Swarup rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is difficult to find an actual event being narrated in a manner it has been in "The Siege". The authors have researched various aspects and spoken to those that went through the traumatic experience to build a fast-paced and "un-put-downable" book. The book is also a tribute to those that went well beyond the call of duty to assist those that were trapped. The exemplary courage of the General Manager of the Taj Hotel stands out. There are indeed a large number of unanswered questions as there ...more
Liz Barnsley
Nov 24, 2013 Liz Barnsley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Catherine at Penguin for tracking down a copy of this book for me.

So, recently I decided to expand my reading yet again by starting to read some more non-fiction - something I've only dipped a toe into every now and again, much preferring fiction and all the adventures you can find there...

I started with Jamie Baywoods often hilarious account of how she settled into a new home- Getting Rooted in New Zealand - and then moved onto a "self help" book for those suffering a loss "You can
Mar 05, 2014 Atharva rated it it was amazing
Are we safe enough right now? Comfortable in our armchairs or beds or wherever it is that we are comfortable, are we safe? No. Never. Any moment now, any number of heavily armed fanatics can enter your building, your house, wherever it is you are living, and start shooting. They can kill you. They will kill you. You beg, you cry, you scream, to them it doesn't make much of a difference. This book, it made me very uncomfortable. About life. About safety, the illusion that we are safe. About this ...more
Feb 21, 2014 Richard rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Five stars for an amazing book with problems.

In 2008, ten fiyadeen arrived in Mumbai by boat, and proceeded to terrorize a city while they concentrated on four proximate locations - the Oberoi Hotel, a popular cafe, Chabad House, and the mighty Taj Hotel, flagship of the Taj hotel empire, symbol of wealth and power, and one of the best known five star hotels in the world.

This is a horrific story. The authors take us through the back-story of terrorist recruitment and training, and then throw us
Jan 16, 2014 Ashok rated it it was amazing
Tears threatened to fill my eyes. My throat constricted. More than once.

I had just finished reading the book.

Shangrila hotel in Pudong, China is where I had switched on the TV on the evening of November 26, 2008 and watched the attack on the Taj in horror. All other thoughts were replaced by sheer incredulity - how could this happen? Crime is not unknown in Mumbai and neither are bombings, but a group of men walking around with guns just shooting down people? In South Bombay? Never.

I had spent
Mar 31, 2014 Brian rated it really liked it
It's hard to say one enjoys a book such as this, but I do think it's an important event worthy of wider familiarity, especially in the West. Based on this book, along with the recently released The Wrong Enemy, it's pretty clear now that Pakistan should have been included in the so-called "axis of evil." Actually, an argument could be made that they are Member #1 of such an axis.

One of the frustrating lessons to be drawn from the attacks in Mumbai relates to how unprepared the Indian government
Aug 04, 2014 Jeanette rated it really liked it
Shelves: abandoned
I only got 1/2 way. Insanity coupled with incompetence; it's just too dire for me to want to read any more. 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 more killer volunteers every day from Europe and the Americas on the internet for this ex
Viji Suresh
Feb 22, 2014 Viji Suresh rated it it was amazing
The past week, I lived inside Taj. I could smell the fumes, gun powder and the singed skins and hair. "Ack ack ack" was the sound I constantly heard this week during the silent nights I spent reading this book. The incompetence of the government in bringing in the commandos; the avoidable delays that robbed away the lives of hundreds. At the peril of death people unite and the act of survival tops their lists. When the ak47's loomed before them, their were two probabilities, to keep themselves a ...more
Mansi Kapur
Nov 24, 2013 Mansi Kapur rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very incisive. Written with a deep understanding of the event, characters and more importantly, of the region. What unfolded in those three days is mind-numbing; the authors have recreated the horror unforgivingly and the helplessness delicately.
Khalia Hades
Sep 30, 2013 Khalia Hades rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
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. It is an amazing read. I do so recommend.
Tia Raina
Sep 27, 2015 Tia Raina rated it it was amazing
Takes you through the entire event without sparing the blood, gore or police mishaps.
Nitin Jagtap
Nov 14, 2016 Nitin Jagtap rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Multiple award winning Investigative journalists Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott have put together this detailed book on what exactly happened on that eventful night what we popularly call as 26/11 , the attack on Mumbai.

A lot of research and time has gone while writing this book, the authors have met with various people associated with this incident, traveled far and wide, met numerous government, police and Investigative authorities in India and Pakistan and have tried their best to present an acc
Sameer khan
Feb 18, 2017 Sameer khan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A riveting description of one of the most horrendous acts against humanity. This book intricately describes the events of the fateful night and how the world 8th largest city stands strong in front of the face of terror.
Dec 02, 2016 Stephen rated it liked it
Pretty good telling and breakdown of the Taj Hotel terrorist event. It's not a great tactical or geo-political breakdown, but then it was written by civilians operating from a certain political bias.
Nov 28, 2013 RustyJ rated it it was amazing
Every Mumbaikar has a personal story attached to the horrific events of 26/11: of being there, of friends who were there, a story heard from someone they know... so it is for me. As someone who came to this city a few years ago and fell in love with it, this attack was a slap, an insult to MY CITY. Have you ever had a thug walk into your home in your presence, piss in the middle with a 'you can't do a damn' attitude and walk away and you had to watch helpless? That's how every Mumbaikar felt. We ...more
Sep 16, 2013 Celeste_pewter rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anjana Avinash
Jul 21, 2014 Anjana Avinash rated it it was amazing
Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark, former journalists with The Guardian and Sunday Times are the authors of this edge-of-the-seat account of the terrorist attacks that hit Mumbai on 26 November 2008. Ten terrorists trained by the Lashkar-e-Toiba landed in Mumbai and sowed mayhem.166 people were killed and over 300 injured in the nightmare that lasted for nearly three days. It started at the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus with the wave of bloodshed surging over the Leopold Cafe, Chabad House, Cama H ...more
Oct 11, 2016 Pradeep rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Started thinking about the security of the nation. It took two days for the security force to barge in. It would saved a lot of lives, if it would have a been a perfect mission. Thanks to the author for giving us the insight of the horror.
Nov 15, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crossposted at Booklikes

If you have seen the documentary shown on HBO about the 2008 Terror Attacks in Mumbai then you will want to read this book. If you are interested in current events, read this book. In people facing down the odds, read this book.

Quite frankly, read this book it is a powerful piece of writing.

The focus on book, quite obvious from the title, is the events that occurred in the Tajo hotel. If you want a blow by blow for the entire terror attacks then you are better watching
Tarique Ejaz
26/11/2008 shall always be recalled and remembered in the profound history of India as a grief stirring and absolute horror show of a day. That is when it all started and ended in a way. A day that started a chain of events. Events which shook the very sense of security of a country that welcomes diversity and abides by the strength of its hospitable nature.

The Siege is a printed documentary more than anything else that keeps a track of all the build ups and happenings of one of the worst incide
Ranadip Sikdar
Feb 23, 2014 Ranadip Sikdar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Make them sit facing opposite to you and then shoot them at the head and keep the phone on so that i can hear it'. The Indian Intelligence Agencies were shocked and dumfounded what they were hearing on the live call trace of the terrorists, unaware to their handlers stationed 3000kms away in Karachi, Pakistan. 'The siege' is the inside story of what happened exactly in 26/11 in the world's fourth largest city, Mumbai, that kept the whole nation in front of television for more than 60 hours, whe ...more
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