- 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 (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,974,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Terror in Black September: The First Eyewitness Account of the Infamous 1970 Hijackings First Edition Edition
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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