Quick Reads: “The Skies Belong to Us” by Brendan I. Koerner


The Skies Belong To Us cover

The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking

By Brendan I. Koerner


Forty years ago, during a more innocent age of air travel, skyjackers were motley idealists who just wanted a one-way trip out of the country—typically to Havana. In 1972, Willie Roger Holder and Catherine Marie Kerkow pulled off the longest-distance hijacking in US history, armed with discontent against the Vietnam War and a dozen joints—which Holder smoked in first class. Brendan Koerner tracks the duo’s adventures, from their mingling with Black Panthers in Algeria to schmoozing with celebs in Paris. Predictably, their sojourn soured—and so did hijacking’s golden age, as more-frequent and violent in-flight incidents brought about the metal detectors and security lines we know and love today.

This review originally appeared in our July/August issue of Mother Jones. 

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