Freefall: The Needless Destruction of Eastern Air Lines and the Valiant Struggle to Save It

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9780887305566: Freefall: The Needless Destruction of Eastern Air Lines and the Valiant Struggle to Save It
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An account of the fall of America's oldest airline describes the acts of greed, misconduct, and egotism that led to it and discusses such key players as Shurgrue, Jr., Lorenzo, and Checci. 25,000 first printing. $35,000 ad/promo.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A poorly written, ostentatiously scathing, and utterly dispensable log of an airline's slow-motion crackup. On the inside (as the twentysomething VP of corporate development) only during Eastern's last days, Robinson has had to rely on secondary sources to provide background on the forces and factors that propelled the faltering carrier into Chapter 11, and he adds little to a sorry tale that was widely and competently covered by the media from the time Frank Borman was obliged to sell the deficit-ridden airline to Frank Lorenzo's Texas Air until the last departure gate slammed shut on January 19, 1991. The self- serving subtitle notwithstanding, Robinson concludes that Eastern had not earned the right to survive in commercial aviation's competitive, deregulated skies. He rounds up the usual suspects identified in the press as responsible for Eastern's terminal plight, as well as a couple of apparent villains who largely escaped censure by the fourth estate: labor's Charley Bryan (portrayed as a leader of immense personal appeal to journalists, albeit an almost mindless intransigent at the bargaining table) and Burton R. Lifland of the US Bankruptcy Court (whose judgments cost creditors dearly). Otherwise, Robinson heaps scorn upon avaricious attorneys and their fellow professionals who collected over $100 million for dancing attendance on Eastern's death throes. Noted in passing is Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, which boosted fuel prices and kept many travelers close to home. Among the few heroes of the piece is Martin Shugrue (something of a mentor to Robinson), the trustee who made a high-profile, last-ditch effort to keep Eastern flying. An axe-grinding account of a failed enterprise that deserved, if not a better fate, at least a more accomplished Boswell. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

In this credible assessment, former Eastern Airlines executive Robinson notes factors and names of those whom he blames for Eastern Airlines' downfall. In his appraisal of the company's place in aviation history before and after its 1986 takeover by Frank Lorenzo, he attributes a large share of the airlines' problems to conflicts with unions (inherited by Lorenzo from Frank Borman), along with the Aviation Deregulation Act of 1978. The author also recounts vain attempts to revive Eastern after bankruptcy was declared in 1989, an effort made by a court-appointed trustee assisted by Robinson himself. However, he charges that much of the fault for Eastern's demise rests with bankruptcy court Judge Burton Lifland, whose rulings thwarted the purpose of bankruptcy laws to defend the interests of company creditors and, if needed, insure orderly liquidation of remaining funds. The author concludes that the "incompetence . . . animosity and vanity" of individuals killed Eastern. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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