A National Bestseller
From New Yorker staff writer and bestselling author of The Nine and The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson, the definitive account of the kidnapping and trial that defined an insane era in American history
On February 4, 1974, Patty Hearst, a sophomore in college and heiress to the Hearst Family fortune, was kidnapped by a ragtag group of self-styled revolutionaries calling itself the Symbonese Liberation Army. The weird turns that followed in this already sensational take are truly astonishing--the Hearst family tried to secure Patty's release by feeding the people of Oakland and San Francisco for free; bank security cameras captured "Tania" wielding a machine gun during a roberry; the LAPD engaged in the largest police shoot-out in American history; the first breaking news event was broadcast live on telelvision stations across the country; and then there was Patty's circuslike trial, filled with theatrical courtroom confrontations and a dramatic last-minute reversal, after which the term "Stockholm syndrome" entered the lexicon.
Ultimately, the saga highlighted a decade in which America seemed to be suffering a collective nervous breakdown. American Heiress portrays the electrifying lunacy of the time and the toxic mic of sex, politics, and violence that swept up Patty Hearst and captivated the nation.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Jeffrey Toobin has written about the O.J. Simpson case, Bill Clinton’s sex scandal, and other confounding public spectacles of modern America, but it’s safe to say that the kidnapping of Patty Hearst—and her conversion into violent outlaw—is one of the strangest. Toobin details the chain of events with cinematic flair, but what makes American Heiress especially fascinating is the way he makes connections between Hearst’s story and the broader story of America in the ‘70s. There’s some comfort in the knowledge that we’ve come through some pretty crazy and turbulent times before.
Toobin (The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson), a New Yorker staff writer and CNN senior legal analyst, provides another definitive and nuanced look at a notorious crime case this time, the 1974 abduction of heiress Patty Hearst in San Francisco by the Symbionese Liberation Army, and its sensational aftermath. Two months into the kidnapping, in a tape released by the SLA, Hearst declared that she'd joined the group; two years later, she faced a federal trial for armed bank robbery. Toobin's rigorous detective work is enhanced by his placement of the Hearst case in the context of its times, with the U.S. shaken by the continuing Watergate revelations as well as the devastating OAPEC oil embargo, and his expert critique of the work of both prosecution and defense in Hearst's 1976 trial. His thorough research, careful parsing of all the evidence, and superior prose make the book read like a summertime thriller.
Finally the truth comes out
I followed this on tv and the papers as it happened, and always wondered what exactly was the truth. This book tells what I feel is the truth. She's a liar who I have no respect for.
And just one mistake I found: he mentioned a 56 Chevy Impala.
Well-paced and fascinating
If you have any interest in the counter-culture of the period you will enjoy this. Patty Hearst comes through as a weird palate on which to tell about the last tales of the 60s revolutions.