Book Review: The Crash Detectives

My thoughts on The Crash Detectives: Investigating the World’s Most Mysterious Air Disasters – This is definitely not a book to read on a flight. I had just gotten to the runway on a one hour trip when picking up this book to continue post-chapter 1. That was a bad idea. I doubt a page was read before I locked it away tight in my carry-on bag. I nevertheless endured and finally finished the book., I really enjoyed it actually.

4 stars of 5

The book leans heavily on two air calamities: The loss of Hawaii Clipper and Malaysia Airlines flight 370. Both of these mysteries have captivated us, and as the more 2019 version of these mysteries – the 737 MAX failures – we’re transfixed by what we don’t know and trying to understand how planes crash or get lost.

As Christine Negroni says ”An air disaster dominates the news until the next story.”

The book is an easy read, bouncing between big stories and smaller narratives about disasters. I do wish the author had taken more time to describe more about the technical mechanisms of said disasters. In some cases, these details feel left out. Christine, however, always appears excited to write about her interest in the topic. It comes through in the work.

Much time is given to the political and conspiratorial aspects of these tragedies. For good reason too since much of what’s not known is more intriguing than what is – like in the case of the Arrow Air Flight 1285 out of Gander, Newfoundland where the U.S. seemed very apathetic about such a serious crash. Delving into the Tenerife disaster also had me enthralled. It’s something I knew about, but revisiting what happened there (as told by Negroni) is worthwhile.