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The Kaoboys of R&AW: Down Memory Lane
The Kaoboys of R&AW: Down Memory Lane
by B. Raman
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, 27 Nov 2009
This book is the only one available about India's R&AW. There are loads of books available about CIA, KGB & MI6, but next to none exist when it comes to the Asian agencies like R&AW & China's CSIS. The only Asian/Middle Eastern agency about which a book exists is the MOSSAD.
The Kaoboys of R&AW is a very interesting read. Raman, the author, is an insider and talks about his experiences within R&AW and also throws light on some politically significant events in the sub-continent during his long tenure with the agency. He also provides an insightful profile on some of the Indian leaders. However, apart from the events in 1971 leading to Bangladesh's freedom, there is not much else that he talks about as far as R&AW's activities are concerned, only a handful of his own successes or failures. At one stage, when he finishes his last abroad tour and returns to India, he mentions that he gets a chance to payback Pakistan the same coin that they use against us and Raman says that he feels younger. However, not much detail is provided on what exactly happened. I guess he cannot reveal too many official secrets. But that is the kind of agency that R&AW has been; always secretive and not talking openly about successes or failures.
The other aspects of this book are terrific to read. I particularly like the parts of the book where he describes Indian govt's policies under various leaders and their impact on R&AW.
Overall, this book is very good read, though certainly not as descriptive as `The spy without a face', `Spyhandler', `Main enemy' or `Gideon's spies'. I hope one day there'll be a book where I can read something about what R&AW has been doing to protect my country.


Gideon's Spies: The Inside Story Of Israel's Legendary Secret Service, The Mossad
Gideon's Spies: The Inside Story Of Israel's Legendary Secret Service, The Mossad
by Gordon Thomas
Edition: Paperback

7 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book. Buy it!, 21 Nov 2009
Gordon Thomas's book on Mossad is a terrific book. It is very comprehensive and contains lots of exciting parts. You cannot put it down easily.


The Secret War with Iran: The 30-year Covert Struggle for Control of a Rogue State
The Secret War with Iran: The 30-year Covert Struggle for Control of a Rogue State
by Ronen Bergman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book - But overreaches, 21 Nov 2009
This book is a very well written one. It has a pacy narrative and you simply cant wait to read the next page. The book gives about a lot of information about many aspects of recent Middle Eastern history. However, the biggest disappointment in this book is Ronen Bergman's constant accusation of everyone in Iran as criminal. It contains less information on a "Secret war with Iran" and a lot of accusations. Ronen Bergman makes every Iranian politician sound like a terrorist. While his fact-based narrative about Imad Mughniyeh was interesting to read, his analysis on Iran is extremely disappointing. I agree with a British reviewer of this book who says that Ronen Bergman's book is biased against Iran purely because he is from Israel. Maybe this is true, but purely as a journalist, Ronen Bergman provides facts that are ridiculously biased against Iran.
Despite all this, the book is a very interesting read. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Middle East. However, watch out for biased sections of the book.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 1, 2010 2:05 PM BST


Inside an Elusive Mind
Inside an Elusive Mind
by Narayan Swamy
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read, 17 Sep 2009
This review is from: Inside an Elusive Mind (Paperback)
For anyone interested in politics of the Indian sub-continent, reading about LTTE and Sri Lanka is a must. Not many books about LTTE, their works and their leaders are available; this book gives a terrific perspective of the Eelam wars in Sri Lanka, keeping Prabhakaran's role as a central theme throughout chapters. The good part about the book is that while it thoroughly describes Prabhakaran's life and times during their struggle, it doesnt praise him or criticise him; neither does the book foot the Sinhala line. The author has steered clear of taking sides and has presented facts; though in the preface the author mentions that some facts are still being checked and corrected.
Overall, this book is by far one of the best narratives about a leader - terrorist or freedom fighter, killer or saviour, ruthless in killing or ruthless in determination - is purely for the reader to decide.

The only details the book misses is about the military history and 'assassination' history of LTTE. No doubt, all assassinations in Sri Lanka are on the orders of Prabhakaran, including people like Lakshman Kadirgamar etc. The author's apparent lack of information on these elements must be the reason why they are not included in the book. That, however, doesnt take anything away from the fact that this book is a very well written book.


My Country, My Life
My Country, My Life
by L.K. Advani
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing boook, 26 July 2009
This review is from: My Country, My Life (Hardcover)
I think this book is by far the worst autobiography I've read in my life. I bought this book thinking that I'll read about a seemingly wonderful journey Mr.Advani must've made in his life. But after reading this book, I must say it seemed more like a election PR for the PM's post. The modesty and simplicity he tries to project about himself seems hypocritical when he ends up criticising Congress Party endlessly. Also, I was absolutely disappointed with his reasoning behind defending Narendra Modi on the Gujarat riots and his defense of Babri Masjid demolition instead of taking responsibility. I think the only interesting part of this book was about his life in Karachi, his beginnings at RSS, work he did as I&B minister and also some bit during the emergency.
Overall, a terrible book. Buy it only if you are looking to waste time and money.


Spy Handler: Memoir of a KGB Officer - The True Story of the Man Who Recruited Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames
Spy Handler: Memoir of a KGB Officer - The True Story of the Man Who Recruited Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames
by Victor Cherkashin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Book, 7 Mar 2009
Reading about Russian moles in CIA and FBI directly from a KGB agent was a terrific experience. The page where Viktor Cherkashin asks "Are you Aldrich Ames?" gave me a chill down my spine. His description of communist ideology, Russian KGB politics and handling of Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen was terrific. It is a worthy buy and an interesting read.


Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden
Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden
by Steve Coll
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.39

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars to Obama's choice, 7 Mar 2009
I like spy non-fiction and selected this book after finding out that Barack Obama read this during his presidential campaign. The book is beyond expectations, with a complete overview and seemingly a true account of what happened in Afghanistan during the 80's and 90's. The book is very well written and the details brought about by Steve Coll are fantastic.


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