The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst
On Sale: August 2, 2016
Featuring: Patty Hearst
Hardcover / e-Book
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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 circus like
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
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?
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