Thursday, August 18, 2016

Review: American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes, and Trial of Patty Hearst

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.

Title: American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes, and Trial of Patty Hearst
Author: Jeffrey Toobin
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Genre: Non Fiction/True Crime
Recommended If You Like: The People V.S. O.J. Simpson, non fiction, true crime, history, previously undiscovered materials and information

The Book:

Say the name Patty Hearst, and chances are people will have heard that name before. But how much do we really know about her and her story? In American Heiress, Toobin uses his access to unprecedented amounts of material to tell the tale of Patty Hearst , a member of the rich and powerful Hearst family. Her kidnapping by a fringe band of renegades led to her joining their group and fully participating in their meant-to-be revolutionary actions. But was it her choice, or a form of brainwashing?

What I Liked:

This was a fascinating non-fiction read. I've always been interested in Patty Hearst, especially the psychological underpinnings of the never truly answered question of her compliance, but didn't really know that much besides the basic details mentioned in every article about her. Toobin, however, clearly knows a lot, and highlights this in a well-written and excellently-researched tome, that really captures the complexities of the multitude of issues raised.

Anything I Didn't Like?

Honestly, not really. If anything, I would say that the writing isn't as excellent and gripping as say, Devil in the White City, but that is a very high standard for any book to meet.


I would definitely recommend this book.

Toobin not only tells Hearst's tale, but that of each individual in the group that kidnapped her, those they came into contact with, her famous family, and every one involved in her legal battles.  Toobin certainly comes to his own conclusions regarding Hearst, but he also provides you with the facts to make your own decision.This is a well-rounded, well-researched, well-written encapsulation of a moment in time that reverberated throughout the decades.

ARC August Tally:

1) The Assassin Game by Kirsty McKay
2) I'm Judging You by Luvvie Ayaji
3) Murder in the Secret Garden by Ellery Adams
4) The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne
5) American Heiress by Jeffrey Toobin


  1. I've never heard of this before, but it does sound fascinating!