Brendan Koerner, "The Skies Belong To Us" And The Golden Age Of Hijacking

Aug 16, 2019

This encore interview was first broadcast in January, 2019.

Over a five-year period starting in 1968, petty criminals and protesters, decorated veterans and the occasional used-car salesman seized commercial jets nearly once a week. With visions of ransom money, fame, or merely escape to exotic locales, these hijackers changed the course of modern travel and transportation security.


In his book, The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking, author and journalist Brendan I. Koerner takes us through a particularly violent era in our history, occurring right overhead. Focusing his lens on two unlikely hijackers, Koerner follows the two-decade trail of a Vietnam veteran and a rural track star who escaped with nearly half a million dollars on a fugitive flight that took them around the globe.

Brendan I. Koerner is a contributing editor at Wired and has written for the New York Times, Slate, Mother Jones, and many other publications. He is the author of Piano Demon and Now the Hell Will Start, the latter of which he is currently adapting for filmmaker Spike Lee.