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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Credit where credit's due
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...
Published on 20 Oct 2012 by Michael Watson

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Horror on the hippy trail
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...
Published on 27 Feb 2012 by Crookedmouth


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Credit where credit's due, 20 Oct 2012
By 
Michael Watson "skirrow22" (Halifax, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Meadow (Hardcover)
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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
3.0 out of 5 stars Horror on the hippy trail, 27 Feb 2012
By 
Crookedmouth ":-/" (As seen on iPlayer) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Meadow (Hardcover)
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable account, 25 Nov 2012
By 
Dr. M. Kumar "Adjuvant" (United kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Meadow (Hardcover)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, if a little over-written, journalistic account, 25 May 2012
This review is from: The Meadow (Hardcover)
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Articulate Analysis, 9 May 2012
By 
D. Elliott (Ulverston, Cumbria) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Meadow (Hardcover)
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Co-authors Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark are investigative journalists who have worked for The Sunday Times and the Guardian, and their huge book `The Meadow' embraces a huge subject. The book is skilfully written and flows well, and though it reads like fiction it is as near as possible a factual account of the kidnapping of trekkers in Kashmir in July 1995, with background information, breakdown of the frantic efforts to effect their release, and examination of what followed. A journalistic style is adopted yet always their writing is articulate, and though some undercover sources may remain protected they have clearly undertaken detailed research of a wealth of material and their analysis is comprehensive.

A sub-title claims "The shocking true story of the brutal kidnapping that marked the beginning of modern terrorism", and examples from both Prologue and Epilogue endorse this. Between these commentaries are horrific accounts from the hostages and their families, from the Indian government, police, militants etc. with reliance on interviews, reports, diaries, letters, tapes, photographs etc. Evidence is cleverly presented from different perspectives which leads to some repetition, but this is helpful in uncovering what is false intelligence or lies. There was on-going conflict between Indians/Kashmiris and police/security/army, plus between militant groups with manipulative criminals as well as religious and political zealots, and Indian forces were themselves demonstrated as capable of terrorism. In the face of tremendous obstruction the authors have painstakingly sought out raw intelligence and cross-checked everything so essential facts can be accepted as beyond dispute. Some dialogue has had to be inferred but recollections and quotations have been collaborated and compared to ensure accuracy, even where matters are incomprehensible and unexplainable.

Wider issues are scrutinized. At the time India and Pakistan were making war over the sovereignty of Kashmir, and there is appraisal of suggestions that India used the hostage situation as propaganda to blame Pakistan for inhumanity, with prevention of deals allowing such claims to be perpetuated. There are suspicions that what India thought of Western arms supply to Pakistan potentially dwarfed any concern over a few foreigners! Certainly Indian security services spread disinformation and the military created renegade groups to keep various factions fighting one another as easier than taking them on directly. Also British, American and German diplomats seemed more concerned about maintaining relationships with India rather than the welfare of hostages, and decision making was a convoluted process.

The answers always lay with India, but all parts of the establishment seemed to follow their own agendas, and the revelations of Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark must make uncomfortable reading. From numerous portrayals of divided loyalties and infighting involving atrocities and injustices readers may be dismayed at the levels of accepted violence including death, torture, rape etc. amongst Kashmiris where life was cheap, and hostages obviously not important enough to unhinge any country's diplomatic strategies. More so, they will be appalled to realize how much was known, how deals were sabotaged, and how rescue could have been enacted. `The Meadow' is an articulate and analytical thought-provoking expose from which readers will come to understand the meaning of terrorism - how powerlessness and not knowing instil fear.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read., 16 Oct 2014
By 
E. Phillips (Worcestershire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Meadow (Paperback)
This book gives an insight into the Pakistan/India Kashmiri problem as well as explaining in detail the horrendous experience of the innocent victims and their families. It is obviously extremely well researched and shows how intense and precarious the relationship between India and Pakistan is/was.
With hindsight it is an illustration of how the threat from Islamic fanaticism has grown to global proportions and how a minority,although a growing minority, manipulate a peaceful faith to meet their perverse ideology. It is a reminder to people of all faiths and religions that this type of fanaticism must be defeated.
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5.0 out of 5 stars my thoughts, 1 Mar 2014
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A moving account of this terrible ordeal. I found the book informative and yet gripping. It left me looking for more books on Kashmir. I would highly recommend it for anyone who wants an insight into some of the issues of this area, through the lens of one awful ordeal.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing., 23 Oct 2013
By 
Mr. C. W. Turner "carlt43" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Meadow (Paperback)
I knew one of the hostages very well, Paul Wells, as we where close friends both in school and afterwards. Due to this I obviously found this book very moving and quite upsetting in places. This book is extremely well researched and well written, much credit needs to be given to the authors in their hard work, its shocking how corrupt this area of the world is. the Indian authorities really did nothing to help the hostages and were completely incompetent, and as it turns out more than likely were involved in what went on. A truly sad, terrible event that should never be forgotten.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Terrorism - nothings changed, 19 April 2013
By 
A. J. Parkes "sekrapa" (Dudley, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Meadow (Hardcover)
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After reading this, you realise that over the past 15 years, nothing has changed with regard to terrorism. Set on their beliefs, they take and destroy other peoples lives in the belief that they are right and just.

A good story, if not long winded and fairly heavy to read at times.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Terrorism on the roof of the world, 12 April 2013
This review is from: The Meadow (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Meadow recounts the kidnapping 10 backpackers (all from the West) in Kashmir in 1995. These hostages faced a tragic and terrifying time surrounded by the drama of the bloody struggle between India and Pakistan.
This book references diaries, letters, unprocessed film, classified police reports, secret tape recordings of Indian government negotiations, as well as interviews with the jihadis themselves and excerpts from their journals and personal recollections from those involved, bringing to life this compelling story. The Meadow purports that this incident was the turning point and emergence of current day modern jihad and the begginning of terrorism that is so evident today.
A well researched tome of ~500 pages, at times chilling in detail, my only suspicion (cynically) is that it may be all too "American" in perspective, rather than providing a more balanced analysis and approach.
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The Meadow by Cathy Scott-Clark (Paperback - 1 Aug 2013)
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