Brendan I. Koerner

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Brendan I. Koerner
Born (1974-09-21) September 21, 1974 (age 48)
Los Angeles, California
OccupationEditor, Columnist, Writer
EducationYale University
Notable worksThe Skies Belong to Us (2013)
Piano Demon (2011)
Now the Hell Will Start (2008)

Brendan Ian Koerner (born September 21, 1974) is an American author who has been a contributing editor and 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[edit]

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 U.S. News & World Report as a researcher and fact checker, he eventually became senior editor.[1][3] 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 a contributing editor to 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]

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] The New York Times,[15] The Washington Post,[16] Los Angeles Times,[17] The National (Abu Dhabi),[18] SFGate,[19] and Bookforum.[20]

Awards and honors[edit]

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[edit]

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] and a daughter.



  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Brendan I. Koerner." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2009. Biography In Context. Last accessed October 25, 2013. Gale Document Number: GALE|H1000188220
  2. ^ The Yale Record. New Haven: Yale Record. November 1992. p. 3.
  3. ^ Brett Forrest (August 3, 1999). "Brendan Koerner". Adweek – Southeast Edition. p. 12. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d Brendan I. Koerner. "About Brendan I. Koerner". Microkhan. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
  5. ^ California Bookwatch, April 1, 2007, review of The Best of Technology Writing
  6. ^ SciTech Book News, March 1, 2007, review of The Best of Technology Writing
  7. ^ Jonathan Yardley (July 13, 2008). "Jonathan Yardley on 'Now the Hell Will Start'". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on October 17, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  8. ^ James Fallows (July 21, 2008). "A wonderful new book: 'Now the Hell Will Start'". The Atlantic. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  9. ^ Michelle Kung (May 23, 2008). "Now the Hell Will Start". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  10. ^ Staff writer (April 15, 2008). "Now the Hell Will Start". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  11. ^ a b c Evan Ratliff and Brendan I. Koerner. "Longform Podcast #49: Brendan I. Koerner". Longform. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
  12. ^ Marc Graser (February 2, 2009). "Director grabs rights to WWII thriller". Variety. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  13. ^ Brendan I. Koerner. "Piano Demon". Atavist. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
  14. ^ Benjamin Wallace-Wells (July 5, 2013). "Theirs for the Taking". The New York Times Book Review. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  15. ^ Dwight Garner (June 13, 2013). "Bonnie and Clyde, the Aerial Version". The New York Times. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  16. ^ Daniel Stashower (July 12, 2013). "Book review: 'The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking' by Brendan I. Koerner". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on July 17, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  17. ^ Héctor Tobar (June 20, 2013). "Fly the unfriendly skies with 'The Skies Belong to Us'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  18. ^ Jamie Kenny (August 3, 2013). "The Skies Belong to Us: a look at the era of airline hijackings". The National. UAE. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  19. ^ Glenn C. Altschuler (June 28, 2013). "'The Skies Belong to Us,' by Brendan Koerner". SFGate. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  20. ^ Jordan Smith (July 2, 2013). "Terror in the Skies". Bookforum. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  21. ^ Ilena Silverman (November–December 2002). "Ten Young Writers on the Rise". Columbia Journalism Review. p. 45. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
  22. ^ Mark Oppenheimer (October 6, 2010). "20 Non-fiction Writers Under 40". New Haven Review. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
  23. ^ "National Headliner Awards 2003". National Headliner Award. 2003. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 24, 2013.

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