Wednesday, February 10, 2016

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

Title: The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking
Author: Brendan I. Koerner
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Crown
Publish Date: June 18, 2013
Source: Library

What's the Story?:

From "In an America torn apart by the Vietnam War and the demise of sixties 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, where they imagined being hailed as heroes; others aimed to swap hostages for sacks of cash. Their criminal exploits mesmerized the country, never more so than when the young lovers at the heart of Brendan I. Koerner's "The Skies Belong to Us" pulled off the longest-distance hijacking in American history."

My Two Cents:

"The Skies Belong to Us" is a stranger than fiction tale of one couple named Roger and Kathy who commandeered a airliner and sort of, kind of, maybe did it as a loose protest against the Vietnam War. These days, with all of their security at an airport, a plane hijacking would be huge news because it just never really happens anymore. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, however, plane hijacking was actually a relatively frequent thing, all things considered (scary!!!). Hijackings were done for different reasons and this book explores some of those reasons as well as the way the occurrence of these hijackings lead to both airline companies (although they went grudgingly) and passengers wanting more security.

I was in high school during 9/11 and now I don't blink an eye at all of the security at airports. Now it's hard for me to imagine not having to go through a metal detector or not having to take off my shoes and take every single thing electronic item out of my bag. There was a time during early commercial aviation when it was just becoming feasible for many people to travel via airlines where security was not really a concern. This book explores that time. It was so interesting for me to see how different things once were. So this story is about Cathy and Roger but it's also about the business of flying in general.

The story of Roger and Kathy is just absolutely crazy! Again as I mentioned before, this is definitely one of those stranger than fiction stories where you can hardly believe that these two people who really didn't seem to know what they were doing got away with something massive. The book follows them from their planning stage to when they actually hijacked a plane to what they did after. I was both entertained and educated by this book and I think it will really appeal to my fellow history lovers who like their history to little bit strange and a little bit off the beaten path.


  1. I traveled to the Baltimore/DC area two weeks after 9/11 for some freelance work and the changes were dramatic. Armed military with their dogs. It made me think of the time I went to Mexico and there were machine gun armed military everywhere you looked. I already have a fear of flying and that is why I do road trips as much as possible, but sometimes air is the only way to get there. I would avoid this book. LOL
    sherry @ fundinmental

  2. I can vaguely remember when hijackings were frequent, though I don't remember this. My dad, my uncle and my cousin were all 'Jack's, so were heard lots of 'Hi ,Jack!' jokes. Things certainly have changed. Just a minor point though; air travel was pretty common-place in the 60s and 70s already. This might more likely have been the 'golden age' of commercial airlines, rather than the early days of commercial aviation.


Hi! Welcome to A Bookish Affair. If you leave a comment, I will try to either reply here or on your site!

As of 6/6/2011, this book is now an awards free zone. While I appreciate the awards, I would rather stick to reviewing more great books for you than trying to fill the requirements.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...