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An Innocent Bystander

An Innocent Bystander

The Killing of Leon Klinghoffer

The definitive story of one American family at the center of a single, shocking act of international terrorism that “manages to capture the essence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”(Dan Ephron)

On October 3, 1985, Leon Klinghoffer, a disabled Jewish New Yorker, and his wife boarded the Achille Lauro to celebrate their 36th wedding anniversary with a Mediterranean cruise. Four days later, four Palestinian fedayeen hijacked the Italian luxury liner and took the passengers and crew hostage. Leon Klinghoffer was shot in the head, his body and wheelchair thrown overboard. His murder became a flashpoint in the intractable struggle between Israelis and Arabs and gave Americans a horrifying preview of what it means when terrorism hits home.

In this richly reported book, drawing on multiple perspectives, Julie Salamon dispels the mythology that has grown around that shattering moment. What transpired on the Achille Lauro left the Klinghoffer family in the grip of irredeemable sorrow, while precipitating tragic reverberations for the wives and sons of Abu al-Abbas, the Palestinian mastermind behind the hijacking, and the family of Alex Odeh, a Palestinian-American murdered in Los Angeles in a brutal act of retaliation.

Through intimate interviews with almost all living participants, including one of the hijackers, Julie Salamon brings alive the moment-by-moment saga of the hijacking and the ensuing U.S.-led international manhunt; the diplomatic wrangling between the United States, Egypt, Italy, and Israel; and the long agonizing search for justice. The book also reveals the back story of the controversial opera about the Klinghoffer tragedy that provoked a culture war.

An Innocent Bystander is a masterful work of journalism that moves between the personal and the global with the pace of a geopolitical thriller and the depth of a psychological drama. Throughout lies the tension wrought by terrorism and its repercussions today.
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Genre: Nonfiction / Political Science / Terrorism

On Sale: June 11th 2019

Price: $25.98 / $33.98 (CAD)

ISBN-13: 9781478916628

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

"By telling the story of the Klinghoffer murder richly and elegantly, Salamon manages to capture the essence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict-the injustice, the desperation, the horror, and the folly. Her book sparkles with insight."—Dan Ephron, author of Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel
"A gripping, profoundly moving and insightful examination of the Achille Lauro tragedy from multiple perspectives."—Saul David, author of Operation Thunderbolt: Flight 139 and the Raid on Entebbe Airport, the Most Audacious Hostage Rescue Mission in History
"The wise and fearless Julie Salamon has once again used her astounding journalistic gifts to excavate an essential story. Her elegantly constructed account of the Achille Lauro hijacking and its bitter aftermath illuminates how the specter of modern terrorism has sown hostility throughout the world. Yet the book is at its most poignant when exploring the personal rather than political: Salamon's ingenious storytelling deepens our understanding of how human beings find the strength to cope with the incomprehensible."—-Brendan I. Koerner, author of The Skies Belong to Us and Now the Hell Will Start
"In this gripping account, former Wall Street Journal and New York Times reporter and critic Salamon adeptly reveals the parallel lives of the well-educated and privileged wife of the leader of the Palestinian Liberation Front and the successful, New York City-bred daughters of abductees Marilyn and Leon Klinghoffer. Salamon's account of the strategizing of Palestinian, Israeli, and American diplomats, followed by the soldiers' captures and subsequent escapes, are as engaging as a spy novel... An engrossing narrative of a notorious act of terror."—Kirkus
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