Brendan Koerner

Author, Journalist

Brendan I. Koerner (born 21 September 1974) is an American book author and has been a contributing editor or columnist for Wired magazine, The New York Times, Slate magazine and others. His books include Now the Hell Will Start (2008) and The Skies Belong to Us (2013).

Education and career

Koerner graduated from Yale University with a BA degree.[1] In college, he contributed to campus humor magazine The Yale Record.[2]

Koerner's first journalism job out of school was at US News & World Report as a researcher and fact checker, he eventually became senior editor.[3][1] Koerner left USN&WR to become a freelance writer in 2000, and was a regular contributor to The New Republic, Mother Jones, Harper's Magazine, Legal Affairs, Washington Monthly, and the Christian Science Monitor.[1][4] He was also a columnist for,, The New York Times Sunday Business section and the Village Voice (as "Mr. Roboto").[1][4] In addition, Koerner has served as the contributing editor of Wired.[1][4] He has also published in magazines such as Details, Spin and Men's Journal.[4] In 2006, Koerner edited the anthology The Best of Technology Writing which was positively reviewed in California Bookwatch[5] and SciTech Book News.[1][6]

His first solo authored full length book, Now the Hell Will Start: One Soldier's Flight from the Greatest Manhunt of World War II, was published by Penguin Press in 2008. It is a non-fiction narrative investigating and recounting the story of Herman Perry, an African-American World War II soldier stationed in the China-Burma-India theatre of the war. Perry killed a white officer while helping construct the Ledo Road. He subsequently retreated into the Indo-Burmese wilderness and joined a tribe of the headhunting Nagas. The book was favorably reviewed.[7][8][9][10] In 2009, Spike Lee optioned the film rights and Lee commissioned Koerner to write a draft of the screenplay.[11][12]

In 2011, Koerner published Piano Demon: The Globetrotting, Gin-Soaked, Too-Short Life of Teddy Weatherford, the Chicago Jazzman Who Conquered Asia, it is about the jazz musician Teddy Weatherford.[13] The book was sold as an e-book and audiobook only and is shorter than a full-length book.

Koerner's third book, The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking (2013) is a history of the "golden age" of skyjacking in the United States from the first incident in May 1961 through January 1973, when there were as many as one skyjacking a week or about 159 in total. The book looks at the causes of the epidemic, some of the more famous ones and follows in-depth the story of the longest-distance skyjacking in American history, involving Willie Roger Holder and Catherine Marie Kerkow, a young couple who took control of Western Airlines Flight 701 on June 2, 1972. The book was favorably reviewed including in the New York Times Book Review,[14]New York Times,[15]Washington Post,[16]Los Angeles Times,[17]The National (Abu Dhabi),[18]SFGate,[19] and Bookforum.[20]

Awards and honors

Koerner is a fellow at the New America Foundation. In 2002, the Columbia Journalism Review named him one of its "Ten Young Writers on the Rise".[21] In 2010, the New Haven Review included him in its list of "20 Non-fiction Writers Under 40".[22] In 2003, he won a National Headliner Award for feature writing.[23] His work has been anthologized in Best American Science Writing (2003, "Disorders Made to Order") and Best American Science and Nature Writing (2003, "Embryo Police").[1]

Personal Life

Brendan's father gave him the middle name Ian because he was a fan of Ian Fleming's James Bond movies.[11] Brendan is married, with a son.[11]


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