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In the Blink of an Eye Hardcover – July 12, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (July 12, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375500863
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375500862
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,971,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In the wake of the terrifying explosion of TWA Flight 800 on July 17, 1996, which killed 230 passengers and crew, speculation ran rampant as to the cause of the tragedy. Was it a bomb? A terrorist's missile? Did "friendly fire" from the U.S. government play a role? Rumors spread like brush fire while investigators laboriously fished the pieces of the huge 747 out of the waters off Long Island and began putting the plane back together, piece by piece, to find out the truth. Pat Milton takes us into the world of the FBI agents responsible for investigating Flight 800's horrific last flight. As the days and weeks dragged on for the investigators, public clamor turned up the heat for a suspect, or at least a final determination, one that wouldn't come for months. Milton's protagonist, FBI assistant director James Kallstrom, took the heat and shouldered the blame for a string of false leads, working the public as much as he worked the case--either way, it was a full-time job--and Milton captures the noble spirit of a dedicated man way past his breaking point and then extended further. In the Blink of an Eye works both as an exhaustive, exhausting memoir of a terrifying disaster and an elegant tribute to the dedication of the FBI and all the men and women who helped sort through the pieces to try to put some of Flight 800 back together again. --Tjames Madison

From Booklist

This "gripping, inside story of the biggest investigation in FBI history" (Random publicist) does, indeed, possess empty excitement galore for the nation's gapers. Bonnie Smothers

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Customer Reviews

This book reads like a novel, though it is tragically true.
R.P. Brower, Jr.
I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but as a retired investigator just delving into the facts gives you a piece of the puzzle in which to place it next to the next piece.
Frank Romo Jr.
She has been wowed by the FBI and without an idea as to where she was going the FBI would never have given her so much help.
Hugh R. F. Campbell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The book, as well-written as it is, does not present the full story of TWA 800. In it's haste to glorify the role of the FBI in the investigation, it neglects to mention that FBI agent James Kallstrom stole a piece of the wreckage to give away as a souvenir, the very crime for which journalist James Sanders, author of "The Downing of TWA Flight 800" was arrested, charged, and convicted of in a clear effort to silence him. Milton's book also fails to note that during the trial of James Sanders, sworn testimony by the scientist who conducted lab tests on behalf of the NTSB and the FBI revealed that the government greatly misrepresented the results of the lab tests to the public, in an effort to discredit independent lab tests conducted by Jams Sanders and reported in his book. That the government was proven in a court of law to have lied to the public about TWA 800 might seem worthy of note to most people, but apparently not to Milton. Milton's book also attempts to trivialize the over one hundred witnesses who saw a bright object trailing smoke, described as a missile by witnesses with military experience, streak up from where the Navy was conducting weapons tests through the sky towards the 747. This book is a pure propaganda work, intended to counter "The Downing of TWA Flight 800" (which is also available through Amazon.com).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dave M on February 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
Milton's revisionist treatment of the testimony of the two most credible eyewitnesses is telling. She says that Fred "Fritz" Meyer of the Air National Guard "did not suggest that he had seen a missile..." which is nonsense. First of all she never interviewed him. Second of all, he is on the record stating flatly that what he saw was a missile. (Actually two missiles.) A Viet Nam era pilot, he also has stated unequivocally that he *knows* what a missile flying through the air looks like.
Milton also runs roughshod over the words of Dwight Brumley, another eyewitness whom she failed to interview. She claims he saw the plane hit the water; he never stated that and he did not see it.
Milton had an agenda, and judging from the reviews singing her praises for great journalism and attention to facts and details, she served her agenda well. The book, however, is pure taurine by-product.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The book was entertaining, but had to be taken with a grain of salt. She contradicts herself on a key element of radar data, and appears to always trust the data given from the FBI at face vlaue. There is no evidence of her checking with other agencies or sources.
It is quite obvious that to Pat Milton, James Kallstrom can do no wrong and is the hero of the investigation. It can be a little much sometimes, seemingly almost written to be made into a movie.
Also her forays into irrelevant stories can be distracting.
A good book, but more about James Kallstrom than the investigation and the crash.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By David Neal on January 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Patricia Milton's book inaccurately or simply does not discuss the 30 or more boats seen on recently released NTSB radar 10 miles south of the crash site, the 96 eyewitnesses who saw objects go from the surface to the explosion, the illegal actions of assistant US Attorney Valerie Caproni in illegally stopping Norman Weimeyer, NTSB eyewitness investigator, from interviewing eyewitnesses without FBI interference, and her illegal authorizing of the seizing of author James Sanders' phone records, the letter NTSB Chairman James Hall sent to Judge Seybert trying to make an example of Sanders by imprisoning him, the RDX PETN residue found on the plane parts inside and out, the bogus story of a bomb sniffing dog in St Louis, the ridiculous CIA cartoon of the plane climbing 3200 ft in 15 seconds, when a 747 under full power and with a nose can climb at a rate of only 2000 ft per MINUTE, and the family members who found Jim Kallstrom and other government handlers disingenuous. She does mislead the reader by saying the military warning zones were not hot that night, (they were, according to FAA documents), that there was no military activitiy going on that night, (there was, according to James Kallstrom in a recorded phone call, as well as Navy documents available at alteredevidence.com). I don't think she intentionally lied; I just think she believed everything the government, particularly the FBI, told her. Otherwise, the writing is ok.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Pat Milton's book is well written and makes the reader feel the pain of the family members of the victims. However, the FBI, and certainly Jim Kallstrom, are not the greatest things since sliced bread!
I watched the Senate TWA 800 hearings and a lot of what I saw calls into question Milton's conclusions about the FBI and Jim Kallstrom. Senator Grassley said the FBI threatened public safety by witholding information from the NTSB, the agency that by law, should have been in charge of the TWA 800 case. It appeared that Kallstrom is an egomaniac who, in his mind, is never wrong.
I also remember seeing Jim Kallstrom on CNN every night telling us they he and the FBI would "catch" the "cowards" who blew up TWA 800. He usually appeared with Bob Francis of NTSB, who always looked pleased that Jim Kallstrom let Francis stand near him. Maybe it was hero worship by Francis.
Question - Do you think that Pat Milton got special access to the FBI files and personnel since Kallstrom knew how Milton planned to praise the FBI? Do you think other authors/reporters would be given the same access?
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