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The Airport: Terminal Nights and Runway Days at John F. Kennedy International

Kaplan, James

33 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0688092470 / ISBN 13: 9780688092474
Published by William Morrow & Co, New York, 1994
Used Condition: As New Hardcover
From Jaystime (Salem, OR, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

1994 As New Book, As New Unclipped jacket ($23.00), Stated First Edition, First Printing 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 278 clean tight unmarked pages, blue and white illustrated maps of JFK on the end pages, eight full glossy pages of b/w photos in mid section, book has black boards with 1/4 blue cloth covered spine, gilt lettering on the spine, jacket is black with an illustrated bottom 1/3, white and black lettering, Bookseller Inventory # 004202

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Airport: Terminal Nights and Runway Days...

Publisher: William Morrow & Co, New York

Publication Date: 1994

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:As New

Dust Jacket Condition: As New

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


A detailed portrait of JFK International captures the airport's exoticism and mystique, reporting on everything from its notorious criminals, its mind-boggling organization, its infamous delays, and its place in the world. Reader's Digest Cond Bks.


Before going on a cross-country flight, I decided to find a good book about airports, and was pleasantly surprised to discover this book, an in-depth description of JFK, it's tens of thousands of employees, and the general principles of the airline industry this airport illustrates.

James Kaplan idolizes the brilliant essayist John McPhee, and at times, this book approaches the work of the master--especially the second chapter about "the Birdman of Kennedy" (whose job is to protect human life and metal wing against the astonishingly potent threat of seagulls).

The following passage illustrates Kaplan's reportage and writing at it's best:

Down a hallway, toward passport control. "Human ingenuity is endless," Fingerman is saying. "People hide sausages in bandoliers around their body. I've seen a man trying to bring an entire fig tree on his person. The roots were in his shoes, the branches were in his sleeves. One lady tried to hide her pet bird between her breasts. Another was wearing a big hat, with a whole hatband full of little finches"... Now his restless eyes pick out two men having their passports processed nearby. One is Italian, the other Venezuelan; they look as if they have on at least three sports jackets apiece. They have huge fake-Vuitton suitcases, and Fingerman leans on one of the bags as he says, in his carrying voice, "How are you gentlemen doing today?"

I leave a little while later. Fingerman, who has forgotten all about me, is contentedly removing dozens of pieces of fruit and wrapped sausages from the men's bags as they gesture and shrug.

And how delightfully ironic that this customs inspector's name is Fingerman!

My only gripe is that the publisher should have spent more time editing this otherwise worthy volume--and Kaplan (like me several years ago) suffers from a dreaded syndrome I've dubbed "commatosis", the tendency to overuse commas. Otherwise, I heartily recommend this book to anyone who wants a good peek at how airports work--and how they sometimes fail so spectacularly. Two aerilons up!

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