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Terror in Black September: The First Eyewitness Account of the Infamous 1970 Hijackings Hardcover – September 4, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1403984203 ISBN-10: 1403984204 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; First Edition edition (September 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1403984204
  • ISBN-13: 978-1403984203
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,893,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Thirty-seven years ago on September 6, Palestinian revolutionaries hijacked four airliners bound for New York. Two of the planes were flown to the desert outside of Amman, Jordan, and held there just as the Jordanian civil war erupted. Raab, a health-care executive, was a 17-year-old hostage on one of those planes, and he recounts the ordeal, which resulted in his being separated from his family and dragged back and forth across Jordan for weeks in fear for his life. Raab also attempts to narrate the larger story, from the tense, fractious multinational negotiations over the hostages to the conflict between the Jordanian army and the Palestinian guerrillas. It is an ambitious undertaking, one that Raab lacks the craft to achieve. While the book is painstakingly researched, the writing rarely comes alive, even in the most dramatic situations. The various sources—including Raab's account that he wrote soon after his release—seem to be stuck together rather than shaped. Still, much of the material is intrinsically fascinating and a sad reminder of how much and how little has changed. Four hijacking attempts in one day was a record that would stand alone for 31 years, until another September day in 2001. (Sept.)
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"Retrospectively instructive on the Middle East...."-Kirkus
"Painstakingly researched..."-Publisher's Weekly
"A harrowing personal account told with verve and style, and overlaid by a pivotal episode in modern Middle East history."--The Jewish Standard
"Raab’s Terror in Black September is a fast-paced, highly readable book which is a must reading for all students of the Arab-Israeli conflict."--The Chicago Jewish Star
"A meticulously researched, footnoted and cogently presented description."--The Bergen Record
"Fascinating...sheds new light on how this terrorist episode was part of a larger nefarious plot to reshape the Middle East map." - The Jewish Press
"Nothing trumps an eyewitness view of history.  That's what David Raab offers in his gripping new book." - Steve Goddard's History Wire
"Riveting...a blow by blow account of the facts of this horrifying ordeal, including details of the conflict that precipitated the hijacking...a stunning account of an early encounter with terrorism." -- Jewish Book World
"Raab does a riveting job of recounting his harrowing weeks as a hostage when his plane and three others were simultaneously hijacked in 1970."--Dr. Henry A. Kissinger
"A unique book. Raab offers both a first-person account and a historical analysis of what might have been the single most politically significant terrorist event prior to September 11. The 1970 hijackings changed the course of Middle East history. There has never before been such a gripping and thoughtful recounting by the victim of a terrorist attack."--Barry Rubin, co-author of Yasir Arafat: A Political Biography, co-editor of Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East, and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs
"A riveting account--part personal memoir, part first-class diplomatic history--of one of the seminal events of the modern Middle East. For scholars and students of the region, as well as for journalists and policy-makers, this is an essential work."--Michael Oren, bestselling author of Six Days of War and Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present.
"Black September is an extensively researched history of the events of September 1970. The author was an eyewitness to one of the four aircraft hijackings which were among the world's more serious early terrorist acts. Hundreds of passengers, including the author, were held hostage on the occasion. This book is replete with testimonisals, interviews, and recently available archived materials researched in Washington, D.C., London, Jerusalem, and Jordan. It reveals for the first time a number of little known facts surrounding the hijackings, as well as the Soviet role in the subsequent Syrian invasion of Jordan, and Jordanian and Israeli cooperation that contributed to Jordan's success in the outcome of the war. I personally participated in many events along with the leadership of Jordan and former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, at the time Ambassador to the U.S. I was also in touch with the author's father during his son's captivity. This work is enthusiastically recommended to all who share an interest in the Middle East and some of the origins of today's current encounter with global terrorism."--General Alexander M. Haig, Jr., former Secretary of State
"A compelling and carefully researched history."--Washington Watch
"Raab’s story fuses the intimacy of a memoir with an impeccable historical account....a crucial contribution to the current discourse on terrorism, international diplomacy, and how they affect the innocent civilians who become embroiled in these dangerous situations."--International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard Kovar on April 2, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the more successful disinformation coups of our time was the depiction by Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian resistance groups of their eviction from the Kingdom of Jordan in September 1970 as a "treacherous massacre" by King Hussein and his loyal army. Almost erased from history is the fact that the undisciplined fedayeen (as the resistance fighters were called) brought the action on themselves after establishing a state within the state in Jordan that defied all government authority and was a constant threat to peace and public safety. The civil war (and the subsequent Syrian invasion of Jordan) was touched off by the daring hijacking of four civil airliners by terrorist agents of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, one of whom was a strikingly beautiful woman, Leila Khalid. Her hijacking attempt was the only failure; an Israeli sky marshal shot and wounded her companion, and the pilot of the El Al airliner threw the plane into a dive that sent Leila sprawling so that passengers and another sky marshal could subdue her. The author of this excellently researched, first-person narrative, David Raab, was a teenage passenger on one of the three airliners that were forced down at an abandoned airfield in Jordan. He has used his diary from the incident as a thread for a detailed account of the entire episode (which Henry Kissinger later claimed had brought the US and the USSR close to nuclear war). He draws on interviews with passengers and crewmembers who were held captive with him, and uses contemporary news accounts and post-incident articles to present a riveting story and, incidentally, to set the record straight on who was really responsible for "Black September."Terror in Black September: The First Eyewitness Account of the Infamous 1970 Hijackings
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BABA on February 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Terror in Black September: The First Eyewitness Account of the Infamous 1970 Hijackings
While some of the descriptions are somewhat uneven in their readability & style, the accounts of what was happening in the behind-the-scenes negotiations in Berne, Switzerland are very interesting. These meetings between the countries whose citizens had been hijacked on 3 airplanes illustrate how the countries dealt with the terrorists. Leila Kaleid was one of the Palestineans in a British jail who was released, & the head of the PLFP, responsible for planning these hijackings, recently died. So even though these events took place 30+ years ago, the story is relevant today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Vicki kay on July 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was riveted by raabs book and so angry at times by the utter lack of sense exhibited by the international community. Its amazing that sfter all these horrific acts of hijackings bombings etc. These groups hold no more clout than they did fufty years ago. I am in awe of the poise and dignity of the hostages during this unthinkable situation. They are amazing,
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Seth J. Frantzman HALL OF FAME on November 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In this fast paced book that jumps from Washington to the streets of Amman the month of September, 1970, plays out with the hijecking of four planes on the same day and the ordeal of the hostages and the Jordanian civil war as background. Partly based on the diaries of one of the hostages and interviews with others as well as accounts of the backroom dealings of the Red Cross and the Jordanian government, this is one of the best accounts of what has become known as Black September.

However the book suffers from two general weaknesses. It is far too fast paced for most readers. Jumping back and forth between setings, sometimes on the same page, leaves the reader exhausted and searching for some cohesion. In addition the descriptions of what is going on in the general contaxt, for instance King Hussien's decision to fight the PLO, is only marginally well written and provides little understanding or context, whereas the narrative of the hostages is far better.

This was one of the most fascinating stories, of the terrorists such as Leila Khaled, and of the times, and of the Civil War in Jordan in which a plucky king confronted a viscous gang of terrorists. But this book does not entirely do it justice. Nevertheless it is one of the few book length accounts on the subject.

One migth be dismayed to see the author enjoying a coffee at the end with one of his former captors as if it was all a joke and this may leave a sour taste in the mouth regarding moral relativism and terrorism.

Seth J. Frantzman
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