An authentic voice helps this tale take off.

Life, Love, and a Hijacking: My Pan Am Memoir

Knecht’s memoir takes readers up into the rarefied atmosphere of being an international flight attendant with iconic airline Pan American, with its special culture, exotic locales, and quirkiness.

Debut memoirist Knecht is a very engaging schmoozer. After becoming a Pan Am flight attendant just out of college, she planned to work there for a couple of years, then pursue other plans; instead, she remained with Pan Am until its demise in the early 1990s. She took to world travel like a Boeing to the jet stream. Readers also learn about her upbringing and ambitions. In those days, Pan Am ran a tight ship, and esprit de corps was high. There was, of course, some tomfoolery (Knecht is a member of the Five Mile High Club). On the somber side, the hijacking in the title refers to the 1986 hijacking of Pan Am 73 on the tarmac at the Karachi airport. Knecht wasn’t on the flight, but many friends were, including an Indian flight crew whom she had trained and befriended. Knecht tells the story well, capturing the anxiety and horror. After Pan Am, and on a very loose arrangement with its successor, Delta, she became a private flight attendant, serving on private or corporate jets, where she met many celebrities about whom she is now happy to dish. Speaking of dishes, her book also includes recipes for many items from the famous Pan Am menu. Knecht is a competent though not fully polished writer given to clichés. Anecdotes, the life of her memoir, are alternately amusing and somewhat forced, or the reality struggles to survive the telling. Always hovering behind the narrative like a ghost is the downfall of Pan Am—a bittersweet backdrop for such an alluring profession.

An authentic voice helps this tale take off.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-5025-2349-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2015

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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