“The Skies Belong To Us” was told in two distinct parts. The author juxtaposed the hijacking of Western Airlines Flight 701 with multiple hijackings that served to showcase the history of hijacking. I didn’t know that in the early days of aviation, passengers wouldn’t be asked to pay for their ticket until they were already in the air! While flying, passengers enjoyed free and endless liquor, and were served delicacies such as crab on actual china. We’ve certainly regressed! I was also really surprised to learn how many hijackings occurred in such a short time. The reasons were so varied, some hostage takers wanted money, others wanted a free ride to another country, some thought their actions would impress Castro and earn them asylum in Cuba, and others just wanted to spread a message.
The author included many hijackings in the book, but to my disappointment these were not discussed in depth. It is probably clear from some of the non-fiction I’ve read that I appreciate true stories where a person survives due to their perseverance. Approaching this book, I hoped to find several true accounts of such victims, but the author seemed to be more focused on changes in airline procedure or legislation as a result of hijackings than on the full experience of each hijacking discussed. The book had a relaxed writing style which made the material very easy to understand, although the simplistic caliber of writing reminded me of a college paper. What disappointed me the most about this book was that the main hijacking of Flight 701 focused mostly on the criminals who commandeered the flight rather than on specific passengers.
This book was not what I was expecting, or what I was interested in reading, but as a nonfiction book it was a solid three stars.