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The Skies Belong To Us poster

The Skies Belong To Us by Brendan I. Koerner

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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, 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 two young lovers 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, they managed to flee across an ocean with a half-million dollars in ransom. More than just an enthralling yarn about a spectacular heist and its bittersweet, decades-long aftermath, The Skies Belong to Us is a psychological portrait of America at its most turbulent and a testament to the madness that can grip a nation when politics fail.

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