On October 3, 1985, Leon Klinghoffer, a disabled Jewish New Yorker, was killed on a cruise ship by Palestinian fedayeen hijackers. Through interviews with almost all living participants, including one of the hijackers, this book dramatizes to the saga of the hijacking and the ensuing U.S.-led international manhunt; the diplomatic wrangling between the United States, Egypt, Italy, and Israel; and the long agonizing search for justice.
Salamon could have provided more background about the Middle East and the United States-Israel relationship. Yet despite these shortcomings, her book offers valuable insight into the episode [of the hijacking] while dispelling the myth that Klinghoffer was killed because he was Jewish ... But her book’s greatest contribution is the way that it humanizes the political ordeal.
An Innocent Bystander: The Killing of Leon Klinghoffer examines the case and its prolonged aftermath—personal, legal and artistic—in journalistic fashion ... Salamon tells all [characters'] stories with an even hand ... In chronicling the impact of both these killings on all three families—those of the two victims and the terrorist mastermind—Salamon provides a 360-degree view of the tragic, endless cycle of the killing of innocents.
In this gripping account, former Wall Street Journal and New York Times reporter and critic Salamon...adeptly reveals the parallel lives of the well-educated and privileged wife of the leader of the Palestinian Liberation Front and the successful, New York City–bred daughters of abductees Marilyn and Leon Klinghoffer ... Salamon’s storytelling skills imbue this terrible event with personal, relatable dimensions ... Salamon’s account of the strategizing of Palestinian, Israeli, and American diplomats, followed by the soldiers’ captures and subsequent escapes, are as engaging as a spy novel. She extensively recounts the trials of the hijackers and offers lengthy aftermaths for the families. However, her similar attention to the international productions of the opera The Death of Klinghoffer are overlong and do not warrant the same focus. An engrossing narrative of a notorious act of terror.