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Down Around Midnight: A Memoir of Crash and Survival
     

Down Around Midnight: A Memoir of Crash and Survival

by Robert Sabbag
 

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Around midnight on June 17, 1979, Air New England Flight 248, en route from New York, crashed into the woods on Cape Cod. The pilot was killed, and the survivors struggled to escape the wreckage and wait for rescue. They survived with trauma both physical and emotional. Robert Sabbag was among them. This is his gripping account of the crash and his candid attempts,

Overview

Around midnight on June 17, 1979, Air New England Flight 248, en route from New York, crashed into the woods on Cape Cod. The pilot was killed, and the survivors struggled to escape the wreckage and wait for rescue. They survived with trauma both physical and emotional. Robert Sabbag was among them. This is his gripping account of the crash and his candid attempts, and those of the other survivors, to come to terms with its aftermath. Fast paced and mesmerizing, it is an unforgettable personal reflection on how we live with what we can never forget.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Sabbag examines the crash both as an outstanding reporter investigating an old story, talking to those involved and meticulously piecing together the evidence, and also as a survivor confronting his own demons and the inevitable vagaries of memory... A compelling and tightly written reconstruction of the crash and his struggle to come to terms with the near-death experience."
-Boston Globe

"Sabbag has a knack for thumbnail portraits and sardonic humor... eloquent..."
-Time

"His most emotionally resonant book... A remarkably powerful, human story not merely of a plane crash but of the impact that one brief moment can have on an entire life... "
-Booklist

"Wonderfully readable... Sabbag has a journalist's eye for detail and a sardonic style that would be entertaining no matter the topic... The conclusions he comes to are thought-provoking and wise."
-Minneapolis Star Tribune

Publishers Weekly

Sabbag (Snowblind) was one of eight passengers on board Air New England flight 248 when it crashed into the woods of Cape Cod on June 17, 1979. The passengers and co-pilot survived, and after a brief hospitalization, Sabbag was back on a plane less than two months later. "There was never really any question of my not flying again," Sabbag writes. "Travel had always been a significant part of my life, and it was a substantial part of my work now. " When Sabbag finally decides to discard his don't-look-back mindset and examine the crash nearly 30 years later, the result is a compelling mix of reporting and memoir. He uncovers how his plane went down and wrestles with whether or not to call the pilot's widow. He interviews some of the passengers and workers from the crash scene, figuring out how they persevered, while discovering how he did the same. Sabbag deftly maneuvers himself in and out of the narrative, so the book isn't about his life as much as it is an insightful breakdown of the emotions, coincidences and facts behind a catastrophic event. Perhaps the biggest insight of Sabbag's book-which packs an emotional wallop, despite the book's slim size-is that despite his dogged reporting, we discover that there are some life events we can't understand completely, even our own. (June)

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Boston Globe
Sabbag examines the crash both as an outstanding reporter investigating an old story, talking to those involved and meticulously piecing together the evidence, and also as a survivor confronting his own demons and the inevitable vagaries of memory... A compelling and tightly written reconstruction of the crash and his struggle to come to terms with the near-death experience.
Time
Sabbag has a knack for thumbnail portraits and sardonic humor... eloquent...
Booklist
His most emotionally resonant book... A remarkably powerful, human story not merely of a plane crash but of the impact that one brief moment can have on an entire life...
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Wonderfully readable... Sabbag has a journalist's eye for detail and a sardonic style that would be entertaining no matter the topic... The conclusions he comes to are thought-provoking and wise.
Kirkus Reviews
A plane-crash survivor meanderingly dissects the scattered details of the disaster. "Time never had a chance to stand still," writes Rolling Stone contributor Sabbag (Loaded: A Misadventure on the Marijuana Trail, 2002, etc.) of that night in June 1979. The author-then 32 and enjoying the success of his first book, Snowblind-was one of eight passengers aboard the doomed Air New England flight to Cape Cod. Just minutes into their initial descent, the airplane malfunctioned and began to dive at 1,500 feet per minute, "breaking out of the cloud cover about two seconds from contact." Sabbag suffered a broken back but was able to join forces with Suzanne, another survivor. Both managed to evacuate the remaining passengers in near darkness, and Suzanne fearlessly ventured into the woods to bring a rescue team to the crash site a few hours later. Fast-forward nearly three decades later. Sabbag called Suzanne to compare notes on the crash and discovered that her "recovery had been swift" and that she had boarded another plane within weeks-yet her mother felt the heft of the tragedy for several years. This information amazed Sabbag, and the remainder of the book examines his post-traumatic blind spots and how he became numb to the psychological fallout of the accident. He insightfully remarks on an "acquired" fear of flying and the reunions with other passengers ("heirs to a common destiny") and his distant yet concerned ex-wife. His "inerasable" crash-site memories haunt him still, and readers will get the sense that Sabbag never achieved the sense of closure he may have been seeking with this book. A sobering, protracted deconstruction of tragic events and circumstances.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143117605
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/27/2010
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Sabbag examines the crash both as an outstanding reporter investigating an old story, talking to those involved and meticulously piecing together the evidence, and also as a survivor confronting his own demons and the inevitable vagaries of memory... A compelling and tightly written reconstruction of the crash and his struggle to come to terms with the near-death experience."
-Boston Globe

"Sabbag has a knack for thumbnail portraits and sardonic humor... eloquent..."
-Time

"His most emotionally resonant book... A remarkably powerful, human story not merely of a plane crash but of the impact that one brief moment can have on an entire life... "
-Booklist

"Wonderfully readable... Sabbag has a journalist's eye for detail and a sardonic style that would be entertaining no matter the topic... The conclusions he comes to are thought-provoking and wise."
-Minneapolis Star Tribune

Meet the Author

Robert Sabbag is the author of Snowblind, Smokescreen, and Too Tough to Die. He is a regular contributor to Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, and other publications. He lives on Cape Cod.

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