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Terror in the Skies: Why 9/11 Could Happen Again Hardcover – December 30, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


This event is not a singular or isolated experience. The terrorists are probing us all the time. -- Gary Boettcher, president, Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations

This incident, and incidents like it, occur more than you like to think. It is a "dirty little secret." -- Mark Bogosian, a pilot for a major airline

This is a major embarrassment [for the Department of Homeland Security]. . . . this is a scandal. . . . this needs to be exposed. -- Steven Emerson, author of

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Spence Publishing Company; 2 edition (December 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1890626627
  • ISBN-13: 978-1890626624
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,137,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Annie Jacobsen is a journalist and best selling author who writes about war, weapons, U.S. national security and government secrecy. She was a contributing editor for the Los Angeles Times Magazine. Her 2011 non-fiction bestseller, ''Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base,'' and her 2013 non-fiction bestseller, "Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America," have each been published in five languages.

Area 51 is being made into an AMC scripted television series with Gale Anne Hurd (Walking Dead, Terminator).

Her newest book, "The Pentagon's Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top Secret Military Research Agency," publishes in fall 2015.

Annie Jacobsen graduated from St. Paul's School and Princeton University where she wrote with Joyce Carol Oates and Paul Auster, studied Greek, and served as Captain of the Princeton Women's Ice Hockey Team. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband Kevin and their two sons.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 89 people found the following review helpful By dymphna on September 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Does the accumulation of four years without further terrorist attacks make you feel safer when you fly? It shouldn't. The Bureaucratic Bunglers are out in full force and with them in charge you don't have a prayer. Or rather, all you do have is prayer.

According to Annie Jacobsen, we'd better do our homework on this one because there is no one watching out for us. Back in April,Gates of Vienna posted on Ms. Jacobsen's tenacity and her willingness to follow this story wherever it led. That post, "Silence of the Sheep," proved that the author is a sheepdog indeed. Her interviews with other passengers, with government agencies, with the House Judiciary Committee, with airline personnel, and with individual people who bear the day-to-day hazard of working in this field, have made her case. The tale of her experiences is documented well in "Terror in the Skies".

This is a top-down problem. The guys in harm's way - the pilots and flight attendants - know the problems but they have no more power to address them than you do. Less than two percent of pilots are armed. Want to know why? Because in order to actually carry a firearm on board, the firearms training must be done on the pilot's own time and it has to be done in a place far from home, squeezed into his holiday time or vacation.

And flight attendants? Again, they have to arrange self-defense training on their own time, at their own expense and without the cooperation of the airlines themselves. Think of it this way: what if Brink's hired drivers and gave them no training in handling attempted robberies? What if they expected their employees to get training - if any - on their own time and their own dime? How long do you think Brink's would be in business?
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Mark Twain on May 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was informed of this book by a recent article in the Washington Times. Fascinating read! I remember the bizarre story of Northwest flight 327 and the 14 Syrian suspects and I was surprised to learn that for nearly two years now (from the Washington Times) the Department of Homeland Security has been "secretly" working on a report on the controversial flight. I do remember something way back when from the government to the affect of "nothing happened" on the flight. Something about the Syrians being part of a band. Well, well, surprise surprise. Now the DHS report has come out and it's been classified. Fortunately, Ms. Jacobsen's investigative work has not been classified. In this book, she shows us what Homeland Security doesn't want us to know: that 14 Syrian men can fly around the country on expired visas, terrorizing passengers and conducting test runs for hijacking and no one says boo. Buy a ticket to United 93, read this book and say a prayer. When you're done praying, get real and call your Congressman. If not, the news of your death will not be an exaggeration.
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42 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Nancie Clare on September 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Everyone who flies often, or has loved ones who fly often, should read this book. It's one way to become a better informed consumer of airline travel. You'll learn that the government, which is supposed to protect you, is much more interested in covering up their mistakes, pointing fingers, using diversionary tactics and expending effort in obfuscating the truth.

While, this book reads like a fiction political thriller, it's real life. It was too much to hope for that the government would be proactive in protecting us from terrorists who would turn our airliners into weapons against us. Instead they wait until something happens - Richard Reid tries to blow up a plane with a bomb in his shoe, and now 86-year old grandmothers have to take off their shoes. One hand doesn't know what the other hand is doing: The CIA knew the 9/11 bombers were in the country, but didn't bother to tell the FBI. Once the FBI knew, they couldn't find them - even though some of them were actually listed in the phone book.

It's hard to read this book and keep on flying on commercial aircraft. But if anything, I have a whole lot more respect for the airline crews. I would say I have less confidence in our government, but I'm not sure confidence can be measured in the negative.
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35 of 44 people found the following review helpful By btd on September 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Layers upon layers of half truths and misleading information have always been apart of the information highway. After 9/11 i figured we would get to the bottom of some of the major issues facing National Security and airline safety, at the very least. To discover that even today, after all that has occurred we, as a nation of people, are still held under the thumb of misinformation when it comes to the airline industry and safety issues is absolutely unacceptable.

Annie's book expands very well on the layers of bureaucracy, lies and cover-ups that occur even today within the many institutions set up to protect our lives in the air as well as on the ground.

Dave Adams should be fired and the TSA should almost start from scratch and Mr. Mineta needs to be replaced immediately.

The airline industry should somehow be held accountable for the lack of information they allow their employees to share and how this inability to tell the crucial truths about what happens in the skies of today kills people and will again and again and again.

Ms. Jacobsen had a traumatic experience and didn't bury her head in the sand as so many of us have in the past. To pursue the personal truths that scare us so much is admirable. To pursue the truths that threaten a nation is courageous and patriotic. I commend her for telling a story that needed to be told, in a manner that is enjoyable to read and informative. This book isn't about her or her story.

This book, after reading it, is about me, you and everyone else who "fly the friendly skies."

A good read.

An informative read.

An incredibly discouraging read.
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