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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. 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.