The Skies Belong to Us

The Skies Belong to Us

Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking

Book - 2013
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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. Some hijackers wished to escape to foreign lands; others aimed to swap hostages for sacks of cash. The longest-distance hijacking in American history took place in 1972 when a shattered Army veteran and a mischievous party girl, Roger Holder and Cathy Kerkow, commandeered Western Airlines Flight 701 as a vague war protest. Through a combination of savvy and dumb luck, the couple managed to flee across an ocean with a half-million dollars in ransom, a feat that made them notorious around the globe. Journalist Brendan I. Koerner spent four years chronicling this madcap tale, which involves a cast of characters ranging from exiled Black Panthers to African despots to French movie stars.--From publisher description.
Documents the 1972 story behind the longest-distance hijacking in U.S. history, tracing the events of the hijacking against a backdrop of civil unrest and the skyjacking wave of the early 1970s.
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, [2013]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780307886101
0307886107
Branch Call Number: 364.1552 K784s 2013
Characteristics: 318 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

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From Library Staff

"It was once possible to pass through an entire airport, from curbside to gate, without encountering a single inconvenience - no Xray machines, no metal detectors, no uniformed security personnel with grabby hands and bitter dispositions." In the
period between 1968 and 1974 despera... Read More »

A shattered Army veteran and a mischievous party girl, Roger Holder and Cathy Kerkow commandeered Western Airlines Flight 701 as a vague protest against the war. Through a combination of savvy and dumb luck, the couple managed to flee across an ocean with a half-million dollars in ransom, a feat ... Read More »


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TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 04, 2016

Who has heard of Roger Holder and Cathy Kerkow? Who remembers the eruption of skyjacking in the sixties and seventies? It was a time when a plane was hijacked every week, when airport security was non-existent, a time when you could actually commandeer a plane, fly halfway across the world, and find asylum in a far away land. That's exactly what Holder and Kerkow did. This is their story.

c
claireswazey
Nov 20, 2013

Fascinating. Contained many facts and details about the hijacking era that I didn't know. From what I see here, seems like most of the hijackers were nuts. Not all of them seemed to be mentally ill- but quite a few obviously were. I had no idea that it was as widespread and common as it had become. The information about the hijacking era in general is what interested me the most-more than did the one specific story of Holder and Kerkow. Fun read.

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