Monday, March 12, 2018

March #LibraryLoveChallenge - American Heiress by Jeffrey Toobin

The March edition of the #LibraryLoveChallenge is another non-fiction, this time about the Patty Hearst kidnapping; her "alleged" crimes and trial. It's not my favorite type of non-fiction as it doesn't read as a story but a journaled detail heavy account of a tumultuous time in our country's history. I did enjoy it and I know that tonight's discussion will be a lively one.

ISBN-13: 978-0345803153
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Release Date: 08-02-2016
Length: 480pp

Source: Library - Book Club Read

Buy It: Amazon/B&N/IndieBound
American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin
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.

My Review:

American Heiress
Jeffrey Toobin

Toobin’s recounting of The Patty Hearst kidnapping and participation in the SLA (Simbionese Liberation Army) is a wild ride from the kidnapping in 1974 through her trial, incarceration and finally her release in 1979 It’s not for the faint of heart and not for fiction lovers who don’t want sometimes numbing amounts of facts. It does however paint a real picture of the vagabond existence of this band of fugitives and their life of crime. And it does recount the polarization of a county in turmoil and what led to the “counter-culture radicalism” that was a direct result of the re-election of Richard “Tricky Dicky” Nixon. It’s also proves that wealth and power can influence the system.  What it doesn’t prove but lets the reader decide is weather Patty was a villain or a victim but gives them enough facts to make up their own mind. The author does get a little wordy but with the breath of information he has to work with this is understandable. All in all Non-Fiction fans and readers who love the dissecting of turning points in the history of our country will eat this up.

Other Toobin works

Connect with the author - Website - Facebook - Twitter

Meet Jeffrey:
Jeffrey Toobin is the bestselling author of The Oath, The Nine, Too Close to Call, A Vast Conspiracy, and The Run of His Life. He is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the senior legal analyst at CNN. He lives with his family in New York.


  1. I can't say I know a lot about her

    1. I didn't remember a lot Blodeuedd. The Hearsts are like American Royalty, Her great grandfather was a newspaper magnet

  2. I've seen and read quite a bit on this and would be curious to see if this sheds any new information. Great review Debbie.

    1. Thanks Kim. You know the thing that surprised me was the fact that the author said that the 70s were sour and the 60s were successful and I thought just the opposite. It was eye opening if a bit overwhelming

  3. This really caught my attention. I wouldn’t mind picking this one up.

  4. Such a fascinating piece of history, I remember it being on our TV news for a long time, but ignorant of the finer details and not sure I really want to know them!!

    1. Ah Kathryn I feel the same way about historical significant events of others too

  5. I've been fascinated by her story since I walked through Hearst Castle and started reading on the family. She was contemporary news so definitely caught my attention. Not sure I want to read something like this, but I might flip through it to catch some highlights. Great review, Debbie, and yay for one more toward the library challenge.

    1. Yeah Sophia Rose it was a lot to take in but interesting stuff too. Like I never knew the movie Citizen Kane was based on her Great Grandfather Wm. Randolph Hearst

  6. I have been intrigued by the story of Patty Hearst. I would prefer to watch a documentary of her life instead of reading about it though.

    1. Well you're in luck there is a documentary too Here's the link for seeing it on YouTube-