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The Crash Detectives: Investigating the World's Most Mysterious Air Disasters

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  572 ratings  ·  82 reviews
“Negroni is a talented aviation journalist who clearly understands the critically important part the human factor plays in aviation safety.” —Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, pilot of US Airways 1549, the Miracle on the Hudson

One of The Wall Street Journal’s 3 Books Every Geek Should Read This Fall

A fascinating exploration of how humans and machines fail—leading to ai
Kindle Edition, 285 pages
Published September 27th 2016 by Penguin Books
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3.66  · 
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 ·  572 ratings  ·  82 reviews

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Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I had the same thoughts about this book as another reviewer: first, I thought the title was misleading and, second, I thought it could use some editing and a change in focus. The title Crash Detectives led me to think the book would be about the people who actually investigate plane crashes. Instead it's more of a scattered collection of stories about various airplane mishaps and, in some cases, the politics behind assigning blame. At times the book felt more like a summary of other people's boo ...more
I am not the ideal person to have read this book because flying terrifies me. And to be honest, those reviews who contend that the book is somewhat mis-titled are correct. I'll get to that in a minute.

First, I have to thank My Book Box because I doubt I would have read this if it hadn't been a selection for Oct 2016.

Negroni's somewhat mis-titled book isn't about those who investigate the crashes of airplanes, but more about why those crashes occur. Once you realize this, the book is highly enjo
I'll echo what some other reviewers have said—this is an interesting topic, but the book badly needed an editor to impose some order. The stories and topics are all jumbled up, as if the author put everything in a blender, then poured it onto the page. In particular, I will wait a little longer for a fuller, more orderly book to cover the MH370 story.
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting book about aviation disasters and the author clearly knows this space well. I found it hard to follow in spots due to the way the book jumped between air disasters. Nonetheless an interesting read.
Marcin Wichary
This is in my wheelhouse and there is some good stuff there, but I put this away after 70 pages, not being able to get over the weird colloquial style and a lot of grammar mistakes. Not sure if the author or editor is to blame, but this reads like a rushed blog post.
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaway-reads
“The Crash Detectives” by Christine Negroni was a good read. To begin with full disclosure…I was given this book through a Goodreads Giveaway. While the title alludes to “detectives,” there really isn’t much of that in the narrative. But that aside, the tale was still very interesting.

The book is a reporting of many of the major air mishaps over the last 50 years. Since the middle-aged reader will remember many of the incidents from newspaper stories and television newsreels...this book is real
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wish this had been so much more detailed - it seemed very superficial and it was a shame. I wanted to get really deep and into details which each case and that just didn't happen, unfortunately. I also wish the stories hadn't been mixed together; it was hard to keep track of which story was which. I'd rather have the stories seperated and worked through one by one. It would have given the book a lot more clarity and depth that it was lacking.
Randy M.
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, reviewed
Airline disasters always inspire a morbid sense of curiosity amongst us all. Hollywood has made hundreds of millions of dollars from this sad bit of human nature. Even when it is real, maybe even more so, we sit glued to the television screen hoping for the best, but nonetheless drawn by the possibility of catastrophe. The Crash Detectives looks into many of these real incidents in an attempt to group the seemingly endless possibilities for disaster into a comprehensible set of themes. The resul ...more
Oct 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This probably isn't a good book for nervous fliers, but for those who believe the statistics that say flying is the safest mode of travel, it's quite interesting. The author reviews details of a number of well-known plane incidents and crashes from the past, discussing what is known about the problems, or detailing what did or may have happened to others.
It's NOT a book about how the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducts its investigations into airplane crashes, or about how the
Apr 09, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
I really wanted to read a book about crash detectives. Unfortunately this is not a book about crash detectives, and the way the material was presented drove me nuts.

The book starts out with her personal theory of why Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappears. That's fine, but for a book with this title to start out with 70 pages of the author's speculation is ridiculous. The author gave "proof" by citing snippets of disasters that fit her story, which makes it sound nice and tidy but makes a skept
Heather Goss
Disclaimer: The author is a frequent contributor to Air & Space magazine where I'm an editor, and we're excerpting this book for our September 2016 issue.

This book will definitely get your heart pounding. There is a ton of detail about a large number of air crashes and lesser incidents, quite a few of which I'd never heard about. I wouldn't recommend it if you're already scared to fly, but if you're fascinated by details about How Things Go Wrong, this is a great read. I also think her anal
Katie B
This book takes a look inside some airline crash investigations including the author's opinion about what happened on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. I have absolutely no experience as pilot but I do watch the tv show Air Disasters from time to time. While there is a lot of technical information provided in the book I thought it was explained in a way that the average person should be able to follow most of it.

The main thing to keep in mind while reading this book is that it is more of an overvie
Oct 31, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The organization of this book is a nightmare. The author tries to make 5 broad points, divided into sections, and support each point by frequently jumping around between multiple, complex airplane crashes, incidents and historical moments. Section 2 is the worst and makes little sense. I almost stopped reading at this point, but thankfully it does get better.

On the positive side, the book starts with a strong, well argued author perspective on the crash of MH370 and it does include many little k
Dec 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I agree with previous reviewers. The book was not so much about actual crash detectives, but a loose collection of airplane-related incidents. But in that it was still quite interesting. It doesn't go into major details for any incident, but as a collection it shows the general causes for all of them. All in all interesting for the layman, but if you are looking for depth you need to look elsewhere.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
There's a lot of interest in the book. I agree with other reviewers that the title is misleading. I expected this book to be about, say, the NTSB. It's not. Also, it's not very well edited. The author jumps around a lot, especially in the final chapter, which was super frustrating. But, overall, I liked it. It kept me engaged. Also, I think that Negroni's theory on what happened to MH370 is the most plausible I've ever read.
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed, nonfiction
Fascinating in-depth look at airline accidents (and near accidents) and the reasons behind why such disasters occur. The thrust of the book centers on the Malaysia MH-370 plane that went missing in 2014, but others are mentioned that I knew nothing about.
Adam Christian
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Do not read before travel. GOOD LUCK!
Dec 21, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: junk
This is a very strange book: when most people go for leading the reader to a solution, this author goes for presenting some dry facts and stop, to the next snapshot.
Emilio III
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
From the title “Crash Detectives,” one would assume that this book is a behind the scenes look at the work crash investigators undertake when trying to determine the cause of aircraft accidents. The book looks at many aircraft accidents, but the focus isn’t so much on the investigation process. Author Christine Negroni’s goal, as I see it, is to defend her opinion that the disappearance of Malaysia 370 was more likely a result of a mechanical failure as opposed to pilot suicide. In that effort, ...more
Eric B. Kennedy
Commercial air crashes have attracted a great deal of attention recently. With the crashes of the Boeing 737 MAX (Lion and Ethiopian), the safety of flying has been forced back into the public consciousness. In "The Crash Detectives," Christine Negroni has done a fantastic job of putting together an engaging, accessible, and interesting volume on why planes crash.

The biggest advantages of this book are its breadth and readability. Negroni covers a huge number of different accidents, and her book
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
After a strong start, this book crashes and burns. (Yeah, bad pun fully intended.)

There is a good book in here, and the overall failure to find it is made all the more frustrating by the bits we're given that do work. Negroni opens with a well-argued theory as to the fate of the missing Malaysian airlines Flight 370, and uses it as a jumping off point for a fascinating discussion on the effects of decompression on human behavior. Things quickly fall apart, however, when Negroni moves from focusi
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked the content of this book but it needed to be better edited. The author assumed the reader had a good working knowledge on plane crashes. She provided some information but left out other critical points that just left you more confused.

The most frustrating part of the book is she would start telling you about one plane crash and then jump onto something else, then talk about another plane crash, and another, and then come back to the first one. However, by that time you forgot about the f
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been waiting to read this book for a while and finally discovered it in one of my local libraries so I'm happy to say it proved to be a very intriguing and in depth look into crashes and the crash detectives who study them to discover what went wrong and what lessons can be learned.

The author also comes up with interesting and plausible theory as to what happened on MH-370 the Malaysian Airlines flight that is still missing.

This book covers all aspects of what can go wrong in the air, from
Linda Gaines
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, disaster
This book is ostensibly about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 which went missing several years ago. However the author weaves in many past air disasters and near disasters. It is not really about how the investigations are done, but more a discussion of what happened or what may have happened with the unsolved ones. The author does a good job weaving the different issues and episodes together. It is not simply a listing of each one. Towards the end she was weaving several near disasters together to ...more
Katia M. Davis
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy reading about airline disasters, not because I have a morbid fascination with death (I do, but that's a whole other issue), but because I find the investigative work after the event to determine cause so interesting. I used to be an archaeologist, so I suppose piecing together fragments of information to gather an holistic view of an event is in my nature. This book delves into a variety of aircraft incidents, some involving death, others near misses, but all resulted in the alteration o ...more
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, but as someone who has gone on over 20 flights this year and is getting on a plane again this week. I am now a tad bit paranoid and I never was before. It is just amazing to me (why I don't know) that people are willing to risk people's lives when they know something isn't going to work or something could go wrong and just ignore it. Especially the plane decompression how they haven't figured out a solution to that or even it seems really tried to find one. When I fee ...more
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
I enjoyed this book. It is an overview of several different issues that are common to air disasters. The disappearance of MH-370 (Malaysia Air) is the focal point for the book, however comparisons are made with several crashes that have occurred over the last 70 years in aviation. This is not a case-by-case type of book, rather it is a discussion of similarities that are shared between different air disasters. The examination of the Air New Zealand DC-10 crash in 1979 is fairly detailed in the b ...more
Excellent overview of a history of selected aircraft accidents and their causes. Warning though, don’t read it if you’re a nervous flyer. What stands out for me is the regular denials of blame from aircraft manufacturers after an accident and their willingness to blame the pilots. Case in point is the recent fatal crashes of two new Boeing 737 Max8 planes.

The book looks at the human side as well as the technical issues and does not read like a text book as can happen with this type of tragic su
Kathy Heare Watts
A book that includes investigations into some of the world's most mysterious air disasters with some photographs. Mystery. Conspiracy. Fallibility. Humanity. Resiliency. From Amelia Earhart to MH-370.

I won a copy of this book during a Goodreads giveaway. I am under no obligation to leave a review or rating and do so voluntarily. So that others may also enjoy this book, I am donating it to a senior assisted living facility.
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I write about all kinds of aviation and specialize in airline safety. I follow the relationship between humans and machines. I also travel frequently and write about the places I go and the ways I move on the journey. My Flying Lessons (aviation) blog and on my travel blog (GoHowKnowHow) can be found on my website christinenegroni dot com.