The Skies Belong to Us by Brendan I. Koerner
Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking

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But he finds the ideal tone — a nearly invisible voice — for the fleet true-crime story he is telling, and he introduces us to a supporting cast that’s rarely less interesting than the skyjackers themselves...
-NY Times

Synopsis

In an America torn apart by the Vietnam War and the demise of '60s idealism, airplane hijackings were astonishingly routine. Over a five-year period starting in 1968, the desperate and disillusioned seized commercial jets nearly once a week, using guns, bombs, and jars of acid. Some hijackers wished to escape to foreign lands; others aimed to swap hostages for sacks of cash. Their criminal exploits mesmerized the country, never more so than when shattered Army veteran Roger Holder and mischievous party girl Cathy Kerkow managred to comandeer Western Airlines Flight 701 and flee across an ocean with a half-million dollars in ransom—a heist that remains the longest-distance hijacking in American history.

More than just an enthralling story about a spectacular crime and its bittersweet, decades-long aftermath, The Skies Belong to Us is also a psychological portrait of America at its most turbulent and a testament to the madness that can grip a nation when politics fail.
 

About Brendan I. Koerner

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BRENDAN I. KOERNER is a contributing editor at Wired and the author of Now the Hell Will Start, which was optioned by filmmaker Spike Lee. A former columnist for both the New York Times and Slate, who was named one of Columbia Journalism Review's "Ten Young Writers on the Rise," he has also written for Harper's, the New York Times Magazine, ESPN the Magazine, and many other publications. Visit him at www.microkhan.com and follow him at @brendankoerner.


Author Residence: New York City
 
Published June 18, 2013 by Crown. 318 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Crime. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Skies Belong to Us
All: 4 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Good
on May 12 2013

...Koerner paints a complex portrait of a war-torn and racially charged country, one whose dissenters often took to the skies for revenge. A riveting, highly readable tale of terror in the skies.

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Benjamin Wallace-wells on Jul 05 2013

Characters like these...could become avatars for the wildest impulses of the ’60s. But Koerner has a rare empathy, and by acknowledging the fullness of their strange story, he suggests a deeper truth about the nature of extremism.

Read Full Review of The Skies Belong to Us: Love ... | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Jun 13 2013

But he finds the ideal tone — a nearly invisible voice — for the fleet true-crime story he is telling, and he introduces us to a supporting cast that’s rarely less interesting than the skyjackers themselves...

Read Full Review of The Skies Belong to Us: Love ... | See more reviews from NY Times

LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Hector Tobar on Jun 20 2013

With abundant research and a sharp eye for the absurd, Koerner transports us to a time long before anyone thought of crashing planes into buildings...

Read Full Review of The Skies Belong to Us: Love ... | See more reviews from LA Times

Reader Rating for The Skies Belong to Us
85%

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