American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst

Category: Book
By (author): Toobin, Jeffrey
Subject:  BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Criminals & Outlaws
  HISTORY / United States / 20th Century
  NON-FICTION / General
  TRUE CRIME / General
Publisher: Doubleday
Published: August 2016
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 384
Size: 9.60in x 6.50in x 1.30in
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Additional Notes

From The Publisher*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 Symbionese Liberation Army. The already sensational story took the first of many incredible twists on April 3, when the group released a tape of Patty saying she had joined the SLA and had adopted the nom de guerre "Tania."
     The weird turns of the tale are truly astonishing-the Hearst family trying to secure Patty's release by feeding all the people of Oakland and San Francisco for free; the bank security cameras capturing "Tania" wielding a machine gun during a robbery; a cast of characters including everyone from Bill Walton to the Black Panthers to Ronald Reagan to F. Lee Bailey; the largest police shoot-out in American history; the first breaking news event to be broadcast live on television stations across the country; Patty's year on the lam, running from authorities; and her circuslike trial, filled with theatrical courtroom confrontations and a dramatic last-minute reversal, after which the term "Stockholm syndrome" entered the lexicon.  
     The saga of Patty Hearst highlighted a decade in which America seemed to be suffering a collective nervous breakdown. Based on more than a hundred interviews and thousands of previously secret documents, American Heiress thrillingly recounts the craziness of the times (there were an average of 1,500 terrorist bombings a year in the early 1970s). Toobin portrays the lunacy of the half-baked radicals of the SLA and the toxic mix of sex, politics, and violence that swept up Patty Hearst and re-creates her melodramatic trial. American Heiress examines the life of a young woman who suffered an unimaginable trauma and then made the stunning decision to join her captors' crusade.   
     Or did she?
Review Quote*"[D]efinitive and nuanced. . . . [Toobin's] thorough research, careful parsing of all the evidence, and superior prose make the book read like a summertime thriller." 
--Publishers Weekly  ☆Starred review☆

"Toobin. . .has written an outstandingly detailed and insightful account of the HEarst case and its impact." 
--Booklist ☆Starred review☆

"[A] detailed but swiftly moving account of the 1974 kidnapping that mesmerized the nation. . . . [T]he author's considerable legal knowledge propels the narrative. . . . [A] a well-informed, engaging work from a highly capable author." 
Biographical NoteJEFFREY TOOBIN is the bestselling author of The Nine, for which he won the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, The Oath, Too Close to Call, A Vast Conspiracy, and The Run of His Life, which was made into the critically acclaimed FX series The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story. He is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the senior legal analyst at CNN.