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At the time, it was the most terrible airline disaster that had ever occurred, anywhere in the world, and yet no one ever wrote a book about it...


WE ARE GOING IN is the story of the midair collision over the Grand Canyon in 1956, in which all 128 persons aboard lost their lives. It is a search for the truth told largely as a documentary, presenting some of the author’s theories about what happened and providing generous supportive evidence or proof for each of them. The author also repudiates a number of longstanding beliefs, by re-examining the physical evidence and drawing on testimony and reasoning. Along with his emphasis on determining the course of events on the day of the disaster, he has written WE ARE GOING IN with heartfelt compassion, and because of this the book is not only informative but also dramatic and moving. The author’s style moves back and forth between mundane or technical subjects, and the grave, terrible circumstances and events that caused the accident, interspersing these with many compassionate sentiments about the people involved. He also offers surprisingly pertinent, compelling insights into the human psyche and the role of fate in the unfolding of events. 

The author presents many simple facts and special terms and concepts pertaining to aviation; with a fuller understanding of airplanes and flying, the reader cannot help but find a better grasp of the tragedy. On the other hand, for the reader who may prefer to experience the story more purely as a drama, the Foreword includes an outline of where most of the technical sections are. The book is written in such a way that these can be skipped without disrupting the continuity or the substance of the story. Whichever path the reader chooses to follow through the book, he is sure to come away with renewed reverence for mankind.

MIKE NELSON lost his uncle in the airline disaster that is the subject of this book. Countless times throughout his youth, Mr. Nelson thought deeply about his uncle’s final moments, straining to understand and to empathize with him. Despite the sensitivity and caring with which he imagined the accident, he could never quite fathom or fully accept what had happened, and in mid-life he decided to find out as much as he could. His researches led to a great many surprising places and people, and soon to the completely unexpected resolve to write an entire book about the accident. The result is the present volume, entitled after the last words of one of the crewmembers.

Mr. Nelson spent over a decade researching, interviewing, and analyzing, steeping himself in the accident and educating himself in aviation and aeronautics. Writing has been one of his avocations for his whole adult life, and when he turned his investigations of the collision toward creating an entire book, he began anew to refine the expository style that had been his own for many years beforehand. Thanks to these labors, the authority, clarity, and eloquence of his prose rival those of many established writers.



Mr. Nelson currently resides on a country acreage with his wife, in northeast Iowa.




You can contact Mike Nelson
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