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Island of Blood Paperback – Aug 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (Aug. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142003662
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142003664
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.9 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,142,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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In the course of her career as a journalist, Anita Pratap reported extensively from the conflict zones of South Asia. During the eighties and nineties, when the Indian media rarely ventured into flashpoints like Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, Anita Pratap braved the odds to send in reports from the front, over and over again. War, ethnic conflict, earthquakes, cyclones and droughts-- wherever there was a story to be told, she would track it down. Wherever she went, she saw and faithfully reported the consequences of racial and historical prejudice, religious and sexual discrimination, and mindless hatred and fear. And each time, she returned to the normalcy of her world with a prayer of gratitude for the blessings of daily life, and a renewed determination to celebrate the ordinary. Island of Blood is a distillation of the experiences and insights of one of the finest journalists India has ever produced. First book by one of India's outstanding woman journalists. Anita Pratap has won several awards, including the prestigious George Polk award for her coverage of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 1996, and the Chameli Devi Jain award in 1997. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DelWij VINE VOICE on 22 Feb. 2006
Format: Paperback
Anita Pratap is an Indian Journalist who has written a very accessible and readable book about numerous conflicts in South East Asia. One of the the main areas of focus is the conflict in Sri Lanka. The conflict has claimed upwards of 60,000 lives in the last 20 years and the Tamil Tigers were the first group to employ the modern from of suicide bombing with which we are all now so chillingly familiar. Anita Pratap is perhaps the only investigative journalist to have gained access to the Tamnil Tiger leadership hierarchy and she describes her experiences with compassion and great lucidity.
Like Janine di Giovanni, I also think that Anita Pratap is admirable in the way that she continues to appreciate the simple joys in life in spite of having witnessed much suffering.
This is a book that deserves more attention than it has received (probably because it is mainly about wars in which the west has little direct involvement.)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Helpful reading for understanding Sri Lanka, but that's about it. 3 July 2010
By Ravi C. - Published on
Format: Paperback
Anita Pratap is a highly respected journalist in India, and this book details much of her experience covering the conflict in Sri Lanka, and also Afghanistan; she also covers Hindu-Muslim rioting in India, natural disasters, and in a more broad way, problems of women and children in South Asia. First, the positives - this is a very readable book, and has some of the best accounts of the Sri Lankan conflict that I've read so far (although short of critical analysis and historical perspective). She is an intrepid and incredibly brave journalist, and she goes to great lengths to get the story and in several cases, help her subjects. Now, the negatives: she tells us over and over again how lucky she is, what a charmed life she enjoys when she's not on the battlefield. Get over yourself, I wanted to say. It's a bit self-centered, when you compare it to the grimness of what she's reporting about. Needless to say, her transitions from her life to wars, etc are jarring. 'I was strolling along, smelling flowers. How unlike the smell of burning human flesh in Colombo." (This is a parody of her prose, but not far off.) Ugh. She repeats this kind of phrasing many times. I almost tossed the book aside in the first 50 or so pages, when she goes on and on about traveling with her son and being beset by leeches. Who cares? She makes up for it with the war reportage, though. My last quibble about that reportage was that she does almost no analysis, and seems to come to no conclusions. I find that a bit dishonest, given everything she's seen. Overall, an excellent read, particularly if you're interested in the Sri Lankan civil war, and you can overlook the author's self-centered prose, and often mangled constructions. One example (a quote): "Like her husband's corpse, bits and pieces of Rahima's hopes lay strewn all around her." Omigod, that is soooooooooo bad.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Nobody corrected this woman's manuscript? 23 April 2005
By Ahimsa Campos Arceiz - Published on
Format: Paperback
First I must say that I have read only the five chapters dedicated to Sri Lanka, which makes about half of the edition for this country (Viyitha Yapa Publications).

I was just about to give up the book after a few pages because of Anita Pratap's style: it is completely annoying for absolutely self-centered and narcissist. Luckily I realized that being so obviously disgusting a style it took not so much effort to ignore that part and focus only on the information about her experiences as journalist, in the same way that you get accustomed to the noise of cars in the street.

Anita Pratap has interviewed on several occasions to Prabhakaran, leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and has lived from close range the anti-Tamil incidents happened in Colombo in July 1983 and the situation in Jaffna during the late 80s. Her experiences are valid and provide interesting information to understand the evolution of the Singhalese-Tamil conflict.

The same as you remove the stylistic noise you must read it carefully since she is far from objective when it comes to Prabhakaran and the conflict. In my case, my previous information was strongly biased to the Singhalese side, and therefore I thanked the opposite view, though I absolutely don't agree with her fan-like attitude towards the guerrilla leader. She describes the fight for Tamil Eelam as a romantic fight for freedom and justice. Unfortunately reality is different, and although I don't know enough about the origins of the conflict, its costs for innocent Singhalese and Tamil citizens are unjustifiable. It seems to me more an excessive obsession of a visionary than the real wish of the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka.

I recommend reading this book, in a critical mode and without great expectations. Unfortunately there are not as many books about this conflict and the Sri Lankan history of the 80s and 90s as there are for other conflicts.
Part of the collectio to know root cause of Sri Lanka conflict. 27 Jun. 2013
By Lotus - Published on
Format: Paperback
Strongly recommend reading this book with an open mind. Anita Pratap is a brave Journalist, who won a lot of awards and risked her life to meet with the Rebel leader in Sri Lanka. Otherwise we only get to hear the perception created by, you know who...

A must have if you wanted to know the root cause of the Chronic problem in Sri Lanka where Tamils were being used as a scapegoat. Remember in the early 70's, long before the Tamil Rebels formed, many innocent Sinhalese youth were massacred by the Govt. under and floated in the rivers in the south?

Now, check your library to see if the books on Sri Lanka are biased or not? In fact, check out the book 'Cultures of the world: Sri lanka' and see the section on ethnic conflict...

Ensure the library has the unbiased books like the 'Still counting the dead'?
Still Counting the Dead: Survivors of Sri Lanka's Hidden War

Finally, to see the latest of Media Freedom in Sri Lanka, see
for a list of Journalists killed:

Depending on if this post was useful, click the button below.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Frontline stories, full of detail 14 Aug. 2003
By - Published on
Format: Paperback
Ms. Pratap's intimate knowledge of the conflicts in Sri Lanka and Afghanistan are instrumental in the success of Island of Blood. Filled with intimate details of the LTTE, Island of Blood provides a great deal of insight into the conflict battered nation of Sri Lanka. Whether or not you are familiar with the situation in Sri Lanka, Ms. Pratrap does a wonderful job of presenting an easy to read version of the story. I highly recommend this book because of the intimate details that aren't available anywhere else.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Mind of an elusive fighter 24 Sept. 2004
By Arthur Ramesh - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anita Pratap gives an exclusive view of LTTE and its leader, Mr.Prabhakaran. There is no journalist other than Anita that has so much access to LTTE and have given an inside look into the mind of world's most elusive man, Prabhakarn. She has taken extreme step to visit all the hot spots of the Indian Subcontinent. Her instincts about LTTE were correct when she met them in 1986.
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