Crash Course earned an honorable mention for nonfiction in the 2020 Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards.

The judge had this to say:
"This is one of the best books I’ve read in some time. The story is interesting, it’s well researched, well written, and the author does a fantastic job of building tension and giving the reader relief. It was hard to put this book down. After each chapter, I wanted to know what was going to happen next. What would happen to the pilot? What would happen to the girl who lost her family? Perhaps, one of the best moments in the book is during the plane crash. The timing and pace matches the frantic atmosphere of the flight crew. While the moments leading up to, and during the plane crash, are gripping, the most interesting parts of the book are to come. The crash happened a long time ago, so the author expertly leads us through the years after. Whether you are interested in planes or not, the high drama that plays out in this book should be of interest to most readers.

Again, the structure, pacing and organization are paramount in this book. They are so well done. But, the design of the book is also really well done. The cover design is unique, intriguing and contemporary. While a reader shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, this is a cover that will make a reader pick up this book."

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...)

"...masterfully captures the anguish of loss, the growing disgust at judicial gamesmanship and dangerous corporate power, and, ultimately, forgiveness.""
— Winner - AudioFile Earphones Award 2020 (read full review...)

— Aviation History Magazine Review (PDF)

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 So much of what gets decided in our halls of justice goes unpublished and unnoticed, even when the ripple effects reach us all.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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