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In this moving and thought-provoking memoir, a historian offers a personal look at the fallibilities of memory and the lingering impact of trauma as she goes back fifty years to tell the story of being a passenger on an airliner hijacked in 1970.
On September 6, 1970, twelve-year-old Martha Hodes and her thirteen-year-old sister were flying unaccompanied back to New York City from Israel when their plane was hijacked by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and forced to land in the Jordan desert. Too young to understand the sheer gravity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Martha coped by suppressing her fear and anxiety. Nearly a half-century later, her memories of those six days and nights as a hostage are hazy and scattered. Was it the passage of so much time, or that her family couldn't endure the full story, or had trauma made her repress such an intense life-and-death experience? A professional historian, Martha wanted to find out.
Drawing on deep archival research, childhood memories, and conversations with relatives, friends, and fellow hostages, Martha Hodes sets out to re-create what happened to her, and what it was like for those at home desperately hoping for her return. Thrown together inside a stifling jetliner, the hostages forged friendships, provoked conflicts, and dreamed up distractions. Learning about the lives and causes of their captors--some of them kind, some frightening--the sisters pondered a deadly divide that continues today.
A thrilling tale of fear, denial, and empathy, My Hijacking sheds light on the hostage crisis that shocked the world, as the author comes to a deeper understanding of both what happened in the Jordan desert in 1970 and her own fractured family and childhood sorrows.