Working the Skies: The Fast-Paced, Disorienting World of the Flight Attendant

Working the Skies: The Fast-Paced, Disorienting World of the Flight Attendant

Working the Skies: The Fast-Paced, Disorienting World of the Flight Attendant

Working the Skies: The Fast-Paced, Disorienting World of the Flight Attendant

Synopsis

The Post-Soviet Wars is a comparative account of the organized violence in the Caucusus region, looking at four key areas: Chechnya, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Dagestan. Zürcher's goal is to understand the origin and nature of the violence in these regions, the response and suppression from the post-Soviet regime and the resulting outcomes, all with an eye toward understanding why some conflicts turned violent, whereas others not. Notably, in Dagestan actual violent conflict has not erupted, an exception of political stability for the region. The book provides a brief history of the region, particularly the collapse of the Soviet Union and the resulting changes that took place in the wake of this toppling. Zürcher carefully looks at the conditions within each region - economic, ethnic, religious, and political - to make sense of why some turned to violent conflict and some did not and what the future of the region might portend.

This important volume provides both an overview of the region that is both up-to-date and comprehensive as well as an accessible understanding of the current scholarship on mobilization and violence.

Excerpt

At 7:11 A.M. on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, American Airlines flight attendant Amy Sweeney, on board Flight 11 from Boston to Los Angeles, took advantage of a slight delay in departure to phone home. She was hoping to apologize to her five-year-old daughter for not being there to put her on the bus for kindergarten that morning. Like many flight attendant mothers—especially those with young children— Sweeney preferred to work only on weekends, allowing her to be with her family the rest of the time. She had only volunteered to fly that Tuesday as a bonus—one of the job's perks being the ability to “pick up” additional flights at relatively short notice—and had arranged to have lunch with an old friend in California, possibly at her favorite Mexican restaurant on the West Coast (she had another favorite on the East). Amy's stepmother told a local newspaper, “She just happened to pick up an extra day, and today happened to be the day.” Sweeney had only recently gone back to work following the birth of her son. According to her husband, Michael, Amy's return was partly determined by her desire to keep flying the Boston-L.A. route. Like many flight attendants, she appreciated the space this trip provided.

Just over an hour later, Sweeney made another call, this time to American's flight service center in Boston, to report her airplane had been hijacked. She told the manager where the hijackers had been sitting, that she had been shown a bomb, and that two of her colleagues and a passenger had been stabbed (a claim made by fellow flight attendant Betty Ong in another call, which was aired during the 9/11 Commission hearings). Her information, which should have revealed Mohamed Atta's name on the flight manifest in one of the ascribed seats, would—according to 9/11 Commission member Bob Kerrey—have enabled American Airlines to identify a suspected Al Qaeda operative at . . .

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