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Skyjack: The Hunt for D. B. Cooper Paperback – September 4, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (September 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307451305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307451309
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #729,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Guest Reviewer: Benjamin Wallace on Skyjack by Geoffrey Gray

© David Fields
Benjamin Wallace is a contributing editor at New York Magazine and the author of The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine.

It seems like all the good mysteries are gone. We know who Deep Throat was. We know where Thomas Pynchon lives. The missing 18 minutes on the Nixon tapes have proved unrecoverable. But then, winking at us like one last taunting fossil from the violent, paranoid 1970s, there’s the baffling case of D.B. Cooper.

On November 24, 1971, a man calling himself Dan Cooper hijacked a Boeing 727, demanded $200,000 and parachutes, and jumped out over the Pacific Northwest. At a time when the country was beset by war, assassinations, riots, a faltering economy, and the Nixon presidency, Cooper was heralded as a Robin Hood of the sky. Enormous investigative resources were marshaled. Ballads were written. Cooper was never heard from again.

Forty years later, Geoffrey Gray dives chute-less into the swirling abyss of Cooper mania and lands with a true non-fiction novel, with characters too eccentric to be invented and a hurtling pace rarely found in the world of fact. The writing is stylish. The reporting is unstoppable. Gray is sympathetic and funny and saucer-eyed--even, at times, unhinged. He wants to solve the unsolvable, and remarkably, for a famous cold case, his spadework turns up fresh material.

As much as Skyjack is about D.B. Cooper, it is also a searing group portrait of those who even today find meaning in his mystery, a travelogue through a tumultuous era in American history, and a study of the paranoid style in American obsession. Most indelibly, it is an exploration of the mystery within the mystery, the puzzle of why these unfilled blank spots in our past have such a haunting grip on our imaginations.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“Out of the wild blue yonder comes this pleasing tale of obsession and mystery. Geoffrey Gray has essentially parachuted into the early 1970s and found a nearly forgotten episode that elucidates a swath of our cultural history. The result is a clean, smart whodunit full of quirky characters, imaginative sleuthing, and thrilling surprises.”
Hampton Sides, author of Hellhound on His Trail

“Here is writing and storytelling that is vivid and fresh—a delectable adventure from a talented new author.”
—Gay Talese

“With verve and assurance worthy of his protagonist, Geoffrey Gray pulls readers along on a kaleidoscopic chase through the cult of Cooper. Both a masterful re-creation of the paranoid 1970s, and an exhilarating firsthand account of an erosive obsession, Skyjack takes us down the rabbit hole with Gray—and what a journey it is.”
—James  Swanson, author of Manhunt and Bloody Crimes

“Who was D.B. Cooper? In SKYJACK, Geoffrey Gray lures in the reader with this iconic unsolved mystery, and for the next 290 pages explores a story as attention-grabbing as a bag of hot money. D.B. Cooper emerges as the great McGuffin of 1970s America, a prism through which Gray exploits to the fullest with his propulsive writing style, mad commitment to detail, and explores everything from the early years of gender reassignment surgery to the birth of airline security culture to the ghostly legends of the Pacific Northwest's Dark Divide.”
—Evan Wright, New York Times bestselling author of Generation Kill

“SKYJACK tells the legendary story of D.B. Cooper in a way that’s as inventive and as engaging as the subject itself. Only a writer as talented as Geoffrey Gray could knit together the many strands of this mystery and the extraordinary characters who have dedicated, and in some cases destroyed, their lives in pursuit of the truth. Just as Gray finds himself sucked into the tale, readers will leap into the void alongside him, landing on their feet and smiling at the shared adventure.”
—Mitchell Zuckoff, author of Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II

“Easily one of the most delightful books I’ve read in a long, long time. In his obsessive search for answers in the legendary case, Gray becomes a little unhinged himself as well as encountering an array of characters I haven’t seen the likes of since Mark Twain sent Huck down the Mississippi. His style fits the case, and Gray can be compared with Tom Wolfe and Evelyn Waugh in his talent for unearthing the eccentrics of the world and the bizarreness of life.”
—John Bowers, Associate Professor of Writing, Columbia University, author of The Colony and Love in Tennessee

“…An exciting journey into the byways of popular culture. This is hardly the first book about Cooper, but it may be the first to treat his story for what it has become: an ongoing phenomenon, like the search for Bigfoot, with a remarkable ability to consume the imaginations and lives of generations of searchers.”
—Booklist
, Starred

“Gray organizes this, his first book, like a Tarantino film, cutting chronology into strips, then reassembling them in a sequence that readers may consider (pick one) eccentric, confusing, artistic, random, maddening, fun, revelatory. It's all of the above.”--Cleveland Plain Dealer




From the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

It is both well researched & well written.
Diane
This book is not about sober, dispassionate investigation into the D.B. Cooper mystery, it is about Geoffrey Gray trying to make a grand scoop with the D.B. story.
Mick Yerman
It is a fast moving read but at the end of the day I did not get much out of this book.
Lehigh History Student

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Bennett VINE VOICE on June 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've always been fascinated by the D.B. Cooper story. I'm not sure why since I wasn't even born when he hijacked a Boeing 737 in the fall of 1971, then disappeared into the Washington wilderness. There's just something incredibly compelling about the whole story. It's so compelling, I couldn't put Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper down. It arrived at 10:00am and, by 11:00pm the same day, I'd finished it.

Geoffrey Gray presents what can best be called the human side of the D.B. Cooper mystery. He's done incredible research into the lives of not only the likely suspects (he focuses on Kenneth Christiansen, Duane Weber, Richard McCoy, and Barbara (Bobby) Dayton), but also the pilots, flight attendants, FBI agents, and amateur sleuths involved with the case. The extent that the D.B. Cooper saga has impacted (and ruined) lives is simply incredible.

Gray also doesn't shy away from hard evidence and facts. He pursues and discusses countless leads, no matter how flimsy. He partnered with scientists, private investigators, experts of all kinds, FBI agents, and even the online community. He combined this information with new access to FBI files and other documents to provide the most up to date information about Cooper's motives, his possible identity, and where he may have ended up. He has a list of sources/references at the end of the book for those who may want to dig deeper.

In the end, however, the book is filled with a lot of "he might be or he might not be" with regard to Cooper's ultimate identity. Readers wanting a foregone conclusion should look elsewhere, but for those who want to decide for themselves based on the best information (count me in this category), Gray has done a fantastic job.

For a casual D.B.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By P. Eisenman VINE VOICE on September 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My mother always told me, "If you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all." Unfortunately, I'm obligated to write a review of SKYJACK: THE HUNT FOR D. B. COOPER.

Let me first say, I don't mind cheesy, tabloid "history". If there was ever a real-life "mystery" that could fill hundreds of books with all kinds of theories, the D. B. Cooper skyjacking case is probably it.

Unfortunately, I really can't say I'd recommend THIS book to anybody. I managed to force myself to read the WHOLE thing, in the vain hope it would somehow get better. But, in the end, it never did. :>(

This is NOT a serious investigation into the case as one might surmise from the blurb. In spite of that, it might have been palatable, even entertaining--IF it didn't read like an old "Dick and Jane" reader and wasn't peppered with gratuitous profanities.

Told in the PRESENT tense (why remains a mystery to me), the disjointed, confusing narrative of three or four (maybe more) wholly unrelated "suspects" told in non-sequential order just made for a completely confusing read. And, worse yet, was the overly simplistic writing. Here's a random sample (taken from uncorrected proof): "The marriage was tense. Money was tight. Richard was in school. He had National guard duty." CHOPPY. Reminds me of, "See Spot. See Jane. See Spot run to Jane. Spot barks...." Hard to maintain ANY train of thought when reading such sloppy, shoddy writing.

Having actually read the author Goeffrey Gray's notes and acknowledgements, which are written in a coherant and well-developed manner, I'm thinking that instead of thanking his editor "...who has an extraordinary sensibility on how to make a book work...", he SHOULD have asked the publisher to give him another! UGH.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Paul B on February 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I use to be so interested and intrigued by this story. That is until I read this mess. To a person, everyone involved in this saga can be summed up in one word, pathetic. After reading this I truly hope that this case is never solved and rest be sured I have lost all interest in the subject. I thought this book might provide some answers to this long unsolved mystery. All this book does is throw inane,speculative, conspiracy theories at you which involve people who are truly the dregs of society. Not only was I completely confused after reading this book, but I actually felt a little dirty after being exposed to the seedy "people" that make up this story.
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24 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Gray Water on October 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are interested in the DB Cooper saga, save your time and money, this book wastes both. It is a rambling, disjointed, collection of bits and pieces of various theories as to who was/is DB Cooper. If you are really interested in this subject read the several other books available on Amazon. If you are new to the subject, you will be confused and no better informed when you finish. If you have studied and read on the subject, you will be dissapointed at the lack of structure to the book and the lack of any new evidence. I am truly amazed someone published this book. I rarely write reviews, but this book was so bad, I felt an obligation to fellow readers to warn you.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By BobWard on August 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have a long-standing interest in the DB Cooper saga, and have read most of the books that have been published about it. This latest book by Geoffrey Gray is undoubtedly the worst I have ever read on the subject, almost the worst book I have ever read. It adds nothing to the story, and in the process manages to gratuously slur nearly everybody who is mentioned.

Take my advice, and spend your money on something else, anything else.
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More About the Author


Geoffrey Gray is a contributing editor at New York Magazine. He covered boxing for The New York Times, writes about crime, sports, and food for other newspapers and magazines, and once drove an ice-cream truck. SKYJACK is his first book.

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