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The Cage: The fight for Sri Lanka the Last Days of the Tamil Tigers

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  345 ratings  ·  52 reviews
* Once known for its exquisite tea, drowsy climate, and amiable people, Sri Lanka was the Indian Ocean jewel of the British Empire. After Independence, the island enjoyed a liberal parliamentary democracy with a lively independent press and a booming economy. It had a judiciary, an efficient economy, and a stability envied by emerging nations. The world expected a leader a ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 19th 2011 by Bodley Head (first published May 1st 2011)
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Jun 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Before their stunning defeat in 2009, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were one of the most legendary militant organizations in contemporary history. Their mystique, built in part on their global diaspora network, their fearsome military capabilities (they also pioneered the tactic of suicide bombing) and their seeming invincibility made them one of the most successful insurgent groups on earth. The fiefdom they established, a nascent homeland for the Tamil people in Northern Sri Lanka, was ...more
Steven Fake
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
A solid introduction to the end of the conflict and the background. A damning indictment of the Rajapaksa government. The army continues after the end of the conflict and demise of the LTTE to control the economy of Tamil areas and to change the demography. book was blurbed by everyone from noam chomsky to gareth evans and jon lee anderson

xxiii the way the Rajapaksa government rejected international investigation after the war and commissioned its own domestic inquiry to deflect internati
Dennis Dason
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
Although I bought the book months before, I was waiting to read the book from the appropriate place - My Home, where I can feel as a Thamizh.

Before moving further, I make sure that eventhough I have very deep sympathy towards the Sri Lankan Tamizhs and their cause of Eelam, I don't have any soft corner for LTTE and their Ego.

For people who haven't had a chance to know the core issue like me, this book provides a detailed account of ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. And the great thing that surpri
Jim Rimmer
Jan 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Weiss’ book delves deeply into one of the filthiest of all the ‘dirty little wars’. One would have to be heartless not to be challenged by the level of detail and analysis within the reportage, but even more so by the reprehensible culpability of action and inaction at various times across the history of this conflict.

There are two types of reader I would recommend The Cage to:
1)Those who know, because they’re unliklely to know this much, and
2)Those who don’t, because they really should.
Jan 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Never knew something of this sort has been written and published from Canberra. And author seems to be a professor in University of Sydney. Very well, at the least I have come to know about it now, and read it.

Exceptional and a balanced book about 2009 war SL war. None in the market does justice to the SL war as this book, even the Samanth Subramaniyam's is kind of travelogue. Solid introduction, about the reasons behind the Sinhalese Chauvinism. Starts as early as Henry Olcott, to Angarika Dam
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this while traveling through Sri Lanka and while it doesn't paint a pretty picture of the country, it was helpful to get some background information about the civil war that took place there. The first few chapters give you a good idea of the country's history, from the origins of the Sinhalese and Tamil cultures in Sri Lanka, to the more recent political events that fueled the war. The author also does a great job of gathering accounts from people who lived through the war, lending the b ...more
At heart, I don't think Gordon Weiss is a long form writer. He was formerly a UN official, and the prose and structure of The Cage seems to show someone who more naturally writes briefing papers than full-length books. Although The Cage is a short 230 pages, at times I felt it could have been edited down further still (and benefited from another editorial pass because of some occasionally clunky phrasing). These quibbles aside, I think this is well worth the read: Weiss details the last stages o ...more
Kusal Perera
Oct 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Quite a revealing narration on the SL war that rolled out as one without witnesses. For most who would not want to accept the ground truth, Weiss would be a "Western Traitor". Yet reading through his book on the war and how it was organised by the SL regime, there is no doubt it was ruthless, brutal and was waged with very little concern about the ordinary civilian.
As most foreigners do, Weiss has also faulted in recording and interpreting the pre war history in many instances, but they don't ne
Mar 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a great read, Not just because it has given a good insight about what happened in those horrid days but also for the style of narration. It goes in a rapid pace and writer keeps your interest throughout. He also backs his claims with good evidence.

In terms of plot I am a sri-lankan and Tamil, precedence here is important. It is clear that certain power in sri-lanka doesn't care whether it is Tamil, sinhalish or any other ethnicity, the people in power want to enjoy the power and they are
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Essential reading for anyone studying The causes and final stages of the Sri Lankan conflict. Extremely well written 'The Cage' provides a compelling insight on the factors that would sow the seeds of insurrection and the policies of successive governments that would ultimately bring on it's bloody end. ...more
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Essential reading for anyone studying The causes and final stages of the Sri Lankan conflict. Extremely well written 'The Cage' provides a compelling insight on the factors that would sow the seeds of insurrection and the policies of successive governments that would ultimately bring on it's bloody end. ...more
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
It's shocking that this happened and barely an international eyelid has been raised. Hardly anyone seems to even know about it. And so the Australian govt goes on imprisoning Tamil asylum seekers and the Australian and Sri Lankan cricket teams go on playing games. So it goes. ...more
Anandraj R
Oct 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heart wrenching book!

Very sad account on how Tamils have suffered at the hands of Sinhalese, Army & Tamil Tigers.

The fag end of the war is described as one of the bloodiest in history & what's more saddening is d pathetic & hopeless condition of the Tamil population even after the war!
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
It delves into Sri Lanka, a buddhist nation that has had one of the most violent and longest civil wars. It details the historical context, end of LTTE and the purported outcome - brutal victory, little reconciliation, iron grip with strong security forces controlled by few.
Larry Bassett
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent resource

My daughter just moved to Sri Lanka to teach English for the next year as a Fulbright scholar. This is a book that I read to learn a little bit about The recent history of Sri Lanka.
Srinivasan Iyengar
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
well written book. sadly though the world has not done anything to get justice to Tamils in Lanka. probably another Prabhakaran from amidst the Tamils.can only redeem the situation
Dec 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Politically corrupt, religiously empty and brutally violent. This tells the story of the regime that finished the Sri Lankan war.
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
any one interested in Asia, I recommend this book.
S Ashok
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Gordon Weiss 'The cage' is about the Srilankan Tamil problem, especially its cruel final war which was waged by the Srilankan government to destroy the LTTE. Caught in this battle in between were innocent civilians who were brutally killed. The book starts with a brief historical account of the Tamil problem in Srilanka. After gaining independence, the majority Sinhalese Buddhist population imagined a nation defined by Sinhalese language and Buddhist religion like many European countries which a ...more
Nov 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
In May 2009, after 26 years of fighting, the Sri Lankan army obliterated their terrorist scourge, the Tamil Tigers. These terrorists had appointed themselves leaders of the minority Tamil people and waged a dirty war for independence. Over the years, the blew up buses and airports, assassinated two heads of state (India and Sri Lanka), massacred civilians, used their own people as hostages, and forced children to become soldiers. The Sri Lankan government was well within their rights to oppose ...more
Becky Dale
Jun 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Perhaps this was not the best book to read as an introduction to the Sinhalese-Tamil conflict. By his own admission in the preface, Weiss spends little time discussing the origins of the civil war from the 1970s and instead leaps into the 1980s onwards. But to say that the story continues apace from that point would also be misleading; his storytelling is not chronological and the timeline of events to which he refers is tucked in the appendices - not useful to a curious ignorant like myself. So ...more
Jer Clarke
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very good book. I listened to the Audible version and it was a good adaptation.

This book is a good intro to the history both ancient and recent of Sri Lanka, with a focus on the termination of the civil war in 2011. It's emphasis is on the underreported tragedies at the very end of the war, but many pages are dedicated to providing the context needed to interpret these final events.

I listened to this in preparation for my trip to Sri Lanka for work and tourism, and my only regret was not finis
Pallavi Thirunavukarasu
One of the best books I have read on the history of the ethnic conflict in SriLanka. For these reasons:

1. A very comprehensive book, traces the strife and violence ridden history of the conflict from the early Buddhist days all the way to the end of the Ealam war IV.
2. A fairly unbiased view written by an UN official who was present in Srilanka during the conflict.
3. Fast paced narrative, unlike non fiction books

Heart wrenching to read about the civilian humanitarian crisis in the last days o
Erik Champenois
Covers the end of the Tamil Tigers conflict and the war crimes carried out by the government as they declared victory over the Tamil Tigers - killing tens of thousands of civilians in the process. A sad account of how ethnic and religious tensions were stoked prior to the conflict, to the government's denials and contradictory statements about the end of the conflict, to the ascendancy of an illiberal semi-democratic/semi-authoritarian government under the Rajapaksa brothers. A bit longwinded at ...more
Apr 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Such a good book. Covered the history of Sri Lanka (briefly, in two chapters), modern political history (2oth + 21st century), and then focused on the Civil War and particularly on the last stand of the Tamil Tigers in the so-called "Cage." Also raised issues of human rights and justice after war-time atrocities.

Highly recommended.

Caveat: My family is from Sri Lanka, and so, the subject was particularly resonant for me. Still, an excellent book and I am grateful that such an intelligent, incisiv
Jun 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book gives the raw details of the final stages of the Sri Lankan civil war. It puts blame on both sides, written with a neutral point of view. The author also gives a very detailed history of the island and so many other interesting facts that I learned as a Tamil. He raises a lot of questions to the reader. I hope it can be made into a feature film one day!
Heather G
Definitely informative

This was a very thorough if somewhat confusing book. I had to check I wasn't losing my place because of the same idea being reworded a few sentences apart so often.
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Author has written things happened during the civil war in an unbiased way..tells about how srilankan government covered this history's one of the worst human genocide. ...more
Kristen Dennison
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreaking rundown of Sri Lankan history especially focused on the brutal end of the civil war. Well-written, engaging account from the perspective of international criminal justice.
Mar 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Being from the state of Tamil Nadu, the Tamil tigers were always a part of my Childhood. But also being a Telugu i used to view it from third person's perspective. I thought i knew what was happening until i read this book.

Anything that needs an explanation has a beginning, a middle and an end. And luckily or unluckily he has seen the beginning and been in the end of Tamil tigers.

I mean this guy for the first 5 chapters has done a remarkable job of writing fiction, tracing history and conflict
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Independent Sources? 1 4 Jul 30, 2014 06:30AM  
Secrets at UN? 1 3 Jan 10, 2014 08:39PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Cover needed for 9781934137574 5 24 Jul 06, 2013 10:10PM  
Looking for a site that follows the situation in Sri Lanka? 1 6 Jun 26, 2013 08:35PM  

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