In an America torn apart by the Vietnam War and the demise of Sixties idealism, airplane hijackings were astonishingly routine. Over a five-year period starting in 1968, the desperate and disillusioned seized commercial jets nearly once a week. Some hijackers wished to escape to foreign lands; others aimed to swap hostages for sacks of cash. The longest-distance hijacking in American history took place in 1972 when a shattered Army veteran and a mischievous party girl, Roger Holder and Cathy Kerkow, commandeered Western Airlines Flight 701 as a vague war protest. Through a combination of savvy and dumb luck, the couple managed to flee across an ocean with a half-million dollars in ransom, a feat that made them notorious around the globe. Journalist Brendan I. Koerner spent four years chronicling this madcap tale, which involves a cast of characters ranging from exiled Black Panthers to African despots to French movie stars.-- From publisher description.