Thursday, April 8, 2010

41 Seconds To Freedom: An Insiders Account of the Lima Hostage Crisis, 1996-97

"On December 17, 1996 members of the Peruvian guerrilla group, the Túpack Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA), attacked the residence of the Japanese ambassador to Peru during his birthday party, taking hostage hundreds of guests, including Luis Giampietri, a former field commander of special operations forces that had fought the MRTA. From within the residence, Giampietri played a role in the eventual resolution of the crisis by using his pager to help state commandos locate the guerrillas inside the residence. Here is his memoir of the 126-day siege, written with the assistance of a former US Navy Seal and a Peruvian journalist."

My wife is from Peru and I never tire of finding books to read that will give me a small bit of insight into her culture and her country. I found this one at my local library and was very interested to find out just what had occurred over a decade ago when the MRTA had taken something like 600 hostages in a move to have 400 of their comrades released from prison (as well as having a hefty sum of money paid to them). This book flows well and is a pretty fast read. Of course it has a very pro-government approach to it as Mr Giampietri was in charge of Peruvian Special Ops forces and is a retired admiral. Some of the things mentioned in the book are subjective to whatever your point of view is however at the end of the book he gives an indication of just how disappointed he was in Fujimori's administration and how that led him to become the 1st Vice President under Alan Garcia. It's a very interesting subject and a good book to give out the kind of information you'd never hear about from news sources. Pick it up and give a read, I enjoyed it.

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