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The Meadow Paperback – 1 Aug 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: William Collins (1 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007368178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007368174
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 3.6 x 18.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 766,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘The definitive end to the story, which has remained unresolved for seventeen years … Levy and Scott-Clark have dared to follow the pitiless logic of a very dirty war, and have shown where it can lead…a gripping and often emotional read’ Literary Review

‘A meticulous account … Like a real-life version of ‘The Beach’ by Alex Garland’ Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott Clark are internationally renowned and award-winning investigative journalists who wrote for The Sunday Times before joining the Guardian. Their first book, Stone of Heaven (2001) was named by the New York Times as a book of the year. The Amber Room (2004) was a US bestseller. Their third book, Deception (2007) was a finalist in the Royal United Services Institute. They won the One World Media award for foreign reporting in 2005 and were selected as One World Media Journalists of the Year in 2009. They have produced several television documentaries, most recently City of Fear, a film for Channel 4’s Dispatches (2010).


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Crookedmouth on 27 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In 1995 a small group of western backpackers and hikers come together in a small valley in Kashmir. Captured by Islamist militants, they are to be used as bargaining chips in the release of political activists held by the Indian security forces.

Levy and Scott-Clarke's factual account tells the story of what is claimed by the publisher to be the genesis of the modern spate of Islamist kidnappings.

Overall it seems to be written in the "American Style" - I don't claim that to be a patented or even particularly defensible description but, for me, it fits. So, The Meadow has a much higher page-count than perhaps it needs. The story is densely populated and begins somewhat earlier in the timeline than is perhaps strictly necessary and events are over-described. A good example is the passage of quite a few pages in which we learn how two of the American protagonists grew up, met and married, became involved in organising expeditions and chose Kashmir as their destination for 1995. There is even a good length paragraph of the methods one they used for choosing and packing their provisions. Is such detail necessary? I don't think so. Slightly more worrying is the glib description of the innermost thoughts and emotions of the protagonists. I have no doubt that the authors researched the book scrupulously, using primary resources and face-to-face interviews but this practise sometimes feels a little bit "creative" to put it delicately.

Nevertheless, putting these complaints aside, the story is certainly a compelling one and, perhaps because of these "faults", it is a very readable and easily digested telling of an horrific tale. The Meadow is strongly recommended for anyone with an interest in the history of the Jammu and Kashmir insurgency of the late 20th century, the recent tensions between the Hindu and Moslem populations of the sub-continent and the rise of fundamental Islamism in the region.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Watson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Oct. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is certainly a work of reference and one which chills the heart from many aspects. A world where the easy way to make a point is for armed thugs to kidnap hitchhikers or backpackers is to my mind a scourge which needs cleansing.

But I am not so sure that international terrorism began in Kashmir.

I can easily recall a selection of aircaft lined up on a landing strip in Dawson's Field, then there was Mogadishu and even Entebbe long before these seriously misguided actions took place. The PLO were well exercised in brutality and kidnap leading to death and that was 20 or 30 years before Kashmir.

Still, wherever it began, it hasn't finished yet and this book sets out the background for these particular events in no uncertain terms. From my aspect, there really is too much detail but, journalists being journalists, the facts are needed and the co-authors have done a good job. I do admit to skimming parts, simply because I hadn't the energy to wade though it all. Such brutal events incense me no matter who describes them and one reaches the point where another car bomb or another hostage take is just a few minutes' news. We've become inured to murder all thanks to beliefs that don't hold water or, at best, their container is full of holes.

Nearly 500 pages is a lot of research and, if you're up for it, you'll know rather more than when you started, none of which will be any help in dealing with the problem right now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Max on 25 May 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Meadow is the compelling real-life tale of a mysterious kidnapping in Kasmir in 1995. I must admit I knew nothing of the kidnapping until reading this book, but the mystery surrounding the backpackers and the horror of the account of what really happened to them makes this a compelling read.

I suspect The Meadow is overly long - I was surprised by the size and weight of this book when it came through the door - and this suspicion was strengthened when I started reading. Its an easy read, written in a journalistic style, but is in places excessively and unnecessarily detailed e.g. in descriptions of the backpackers' plans and preparations for their trip. Like a lot of similarly well researched books, it feels as though Levy has been keen to include all bits of his research, whether they add to the story or not.

More annoying, for me, was the over-reaching that Levy occasionally makes in relation to the thoughts of the protagonists. This isn't research - it's conjecture - and it weakens what would otherwise be an excellent account. All the same, it's well worth reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr. M. Kumar on 25 Nov. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book dwells into the kidnapping of the five western men by the extremists. Large sections of book are on mere hearsay and second hand account where often they have derided the Indian Army and Indian establishment. Without making the review too lengthy and cumbersome I will desist from going into the specifics. I agree the security forces in the beginning of the insurgency were poorly organised but the truth is that they had not anticipated insurgency would be so brutal and in such large scale. The state intelligence agencies had failed to asses the situation, and security forces most of them with their vintage world war 2 rifles did not stand much chance against the well trained extremist, who were mostly battle hardened. Result was confusion and chaos in the initial years when Indian establishment did not know how to respond. They believed the numbers would quell insurgency, but they were in for a shock.
overall the authors have done an reasonable job at writing the book and has remained neutral largely.
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