Combining the "tension of a thriller, the drama of the courtroom trial, and the cool-eyed analysis of a procedural," Julie Whipple's debut book is equal parts harrowing and engaging.
— The Portland Review (read full review...)

Crash Course is a compelling moment-by-moment recounting of a startling modern air disaster. But above all, it's a vital account of the bruising fight to make aviation safer and to hold a corporation accountable for its actions.”
—Paul Collins, author of Duel With the Devil

“The public rarely gets to glimpse the personal ordeal and legal trajectory of a high-stakes case. So much of what gets decided in our halls of justice goes unpublished and unnoticed, even when the ripple effects reach us all. A captivating read, Crash Course peels back the lid on the astonishing aftermath and enduring legacy of an aviation disaster.”
—Lori Osmundsen, Civil Litigator, Harvard Law 1992

“The story of United Flight 173 stands at the intersection of power and justice, of profit and safety, and life and death.”
—Greg Kafoury, Tort Litigator and Civil Justice Activist, Kafoury & McDougal

“As a retired pilot, I was very familiar with this accident even before reading this book. The author describes the events inside the cockpit during the handling of the emergency so vividly that readers (particularly aviators) experience their own adrenaline rush. Airline crews and ground employees alike will be impressed by Julie Whipple’s flawless grasp of aviation lingo.

Beyond the accident itself, she delves deeply into associated events, corporate decisions, government investigations and litigation surprises before and after the crash that significantly affected the lives of those connected to the flight, and that continue to resonate broadly today in a variety of important ways. Regardless of your background or profession, you will appreciate that hundreds of individual facts each represent enormous investments in research. Aviation operations, corporate intrigue, government bureaucracy, legal machination, human interest are all here.

“Or, if you are just looking for a great read, you will enjoy this book. I could not put it down when I read it – either time!”
—Tom Cordell, FAA Designated Pilot Examiner, Retired United Airlines Captain


River H.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Fascinating and Compelling
April 9, 2018
This book is so interesting, and beautifully written. I couldn't put it down. It is broader in its scope than just the famous 1978 accident in which a United Airlines plane had to crash-land in a residential neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. Whipple's story is about the wide-ranging effects of the crash -- in legal precedent, airline safety and maintenance procedures, and revolutionary safety protocols that are now standard practice in other areas like medicine. I have learned a lot -- about the airline industry, airplanes (especially the DC-8), what goes on in the cockpit, how lawsuits play out (and how effectively corporations evade and fight them) The book is clear, concise, and detailed but not burdened with abstruse technological discussions. Its style is gripping and dramatic, but not gratuitously so -- it is lucid, honest, compassionate, and very readable.
Susan Ritchey
5.0 out of 5 stars
The writing is outstanding and the book is a beautiful production.
April 15, 2018
The 40th anniversary of the crash of United Flight 173 is highlighted by journalist Julie Whipple's account in "Crash Course." The story behind the story has, we read, laid dormant for all this time. Because Whipple's father was the attorney for a survivor in the huge suit with United, Whipple had "insider" access to information we otherwise would never know. That's the story. The writing is outstanding and the book is a beautiful production. Without giving anything away, I'll just say that it's a hair-raising tale sped along by the presence of clear victims and villains, who, together, wage one hell of a fight. Portlanders in particular will find the book to be a valuable addition to their own history--much of it a big surprise.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Engaging and informative
April 21, 2018

This was an extremely well-researched and engaging tale. The author skillfully weaves a vast amount of information around a minute-by-minute account of the crash from multiple perspectives. I was moved to tears more than once, as the plane went down and as the story of the little girl who lost everything in the crash played out. Whipple's attention to small details added a relatable human element to even the most technical aspects of the story. And she did well to bring to light issues that affect consumer safety today, presenting the information in such a way that it's hard to put this book down.

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