The taking of hostages has become a familiar event in the world's headlines, but news coverage naturally tends to focus on the individual event itself rather than the broader picture and its implications.
'Hostage' is a highly topical study of the phenomenon of hostage taking, both historically and in the world today. It examines the problems and issues related to the taking, holding, killing or releasing of hostages.
The book explores such areas as:
- The history of hostage taking and how it has evolved
- The seizing of hostages, including hijackings
- The treatment of hostages and the relationship that develops between captor and captive
- Rescues, escapes and releases
- Hostage negotiations
- The ultimate fate of the captors and captives
- The trauma and subsequent long-term effects of being held hostage
- The response by the government, police and special forces to hostage-taking
Drawing on a large number of individual cases and in dialogue with many key hostages, terrorists and negotiators, John Griffiths dramatically re-creates the main hostage events of the post-War era and asks how effective it is as a means to an end, and will it always be such a powerful bargaining tool.