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The Mumbai Terror Attacks: A Special Report

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On a blustery Saturday afternoon last March, Jason Motlagh and I sat in my office, discussing the Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008. Jason had recently completed an article for us on separatist rebels within India, and we had been kicking around ideas for a follow-up. Now that he had covered India's internal terror threats, why not examine the largest and most audacious foreign terror attack ever carried out on Indian soil? And, yet, there didn't seem to be a single, thorough accounting of what exactly had happened on those fateful days. We soon hit upon the idea of something that would be closer to literary nonfiction than traditional journalism--or even "new journalism." This would not be the story of Jason's journey in the wake of disaster, but a straightforward narrative of what happened in Mumbai. The last question Jason asked: "How long should it be?" It seemed too early to tell. "As long as it needs to be," I said. "We'll just see."

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