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Download American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patricia Hearst Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patricia Hearst, by Jeffrey Toobin Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jeffrey Toobin Narrator: Paul Michael Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From Jeffrey Toobin, the bestselling author whose book The Run of His Life inspired the FX drama The People vs. O. J. Simpson, comes a rollicking account of the kidnapping and trial that defined an insane era in American history

On February 4, 1974, Patty Hearst, a sophomore in college and heir to the Hearst family fortune, was kidnapped by a ragtag group of self-styled revolutionaries calling itself the Symbionese Liberation Army. The already sensational story took the first of many incredible twists on April 3, when Hearst released a tape saying she had joined the SLA and had adopted the name “Tania.”

The many weird turns of the tale are truly incredible—the Hearst family trying to secure Patty’s release by feeding all the people of Oakland and San Francisco for free; the videotape capturing “Tania” wielding a machine gun during a bank robbery; a cast of characters including everyone from Jim Jones to the Black Panthers to Ronald Reagan to F. Lee Bailey; the largest police shoot-out in American history; the first breaking news event to be broadcast live on all television stations across the country; Patty’s year on the lam, running from authorities; and her circus-like trial, after which the phrase “Stockholm syndrome” entered the lexicon.

The saga of Patty Hearst defined a decade in which America seemed to be suffering a collective nervous breakdown. Based on more than a hundred interviews and thousands of previously secret documents, American Heiress thrillingly recounts the insanity of the times (there were an average of 1500 terrorist bombings a year in the early 1970s). Toobin portrays the lunacy of the half-baked radicals of the SLA and the toxic mix of sex, politics, and violence that swept up Patricia Hearst; and recreates her melodramatic trial. American Heiress examines the life of a young woman who suffered an unimaginable trauma and then made the startling decision to join her captors’ crusade.

Or did she?

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Toobin[‘s]…winning formula of delving deeply into an American crime story that had tremendous notoriety in its day and retelling it with new resonance.”

    New York Times

  • “[Toobin] spins this complex chapter of recent history into an absorbing and intelligent page-turner.”

    Washington Post

  • “Riveting… American Heiress is a page-turner certainly, but Toobin, a gifted writer, infuses it with much more…This ragtag group of revolutionary wannabes…emerge not as cardboard villains but flesh and blood protagonists.”

    Boston Globe

  • “For the expert and the uninitiated alike, a smart page-turner that boasts a cache of never-before-published details…[and] captures the unrivaled spectacle of the Hearst drama.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Toobin gets an A-plus…Everything about this book feels right: the structure, the style and the tone, which is the New Yorker meets Raymond Chandler. As always with great writing, it comes down to a strong, distinctive narrative voice spiced with the judicious use of juicy details."

    LA Weekly

  • “An outstandingly detailed and insightful account of the Hearst case and its impact.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Definitive and nuanced…[Toobin’s] thorough research, careful parsing of all the evidence, and superior prose make the book read like a summertime thriller.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Toobin…gathers all the evidence in this fascinating chronicle of what really happened behind the scenes.”


  • “Accomplished narrator Paul Michael hits all the right notes in Toobin’s detailed account of heiress Patricia Hearst’s notorious 1974 kidnapping…Michael is an excellent choice to deliver the myriad facts and critical analyses of the proceedings…Despite Hearst’s refusal to cooperate with the author, this elegantly written book, paired with Michael’s excellent narration, makes for absorbing listening.”


  • A BookPage Top Pick for August 2016
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
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