The Forgotten Flight: Terrorism, Diplomacy and the Pursuit of Justice by Stuart H Newberger - review by Adrian Weale

Adrian Weale

‘A Wilderness of Wreckage’

The Forgotten Flight: Terrorism, Diplomacy and the Pursuit of Justice


Oneworld 320pp £20 order from our bookshop

About fifteen years ago I was sitting in a flyblown tent at an airstrip somewhere in the Middle East, waiting for an RAF C-130 to collect me for the hop to a real airport to catch the flight that would take me home. There was a table piled high with old paperbacks and magazines, dog-eared and floppy. I picked up one of the books and it turned out to be about air accident investigation; I started to read it. About four hours later, by which time I was in a comfortable seat on a commercial plane, I wished I hadn’t. The sheer helplessness of passengers and crew in a flimsy tube of fast-moving metal when something goes badly wrong is terrifying. Invariably the last words of pilots about to crash, recorded on the cockpit voice recorder – part of the ‘black box’ used to understand aviation accidents – are ‘Oh shit’, or words to that effect.

Stuart Newberger’s The Forgotten Flight focuses on slightly different circumstances. When a modern plane suffers catastrophic mechanical failure or pilot error, there is usually time for the crew to respond. When a bomb goes off on a plane, there almost never is. In an aircraft travelling at around 500 miles

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

A Mirror - Westend

Follow Literary Review on Twitter