101 Pat-Downs

An Undercover Look at Airport Security and the TSA

Shawna Malvini Redden

Traces the history of airport security since September 11, 2001, introducing assorted "characters” of airport security, from passengers who check their brains with their baggage to TSA agents who break the stereotypes.
Publication date:
June 2021
Publisher :
Potomac Books, Inc.
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781640123625

Dimensions : 229 X 152 mm
Not Yet Published. Available for PreOrder.


• Demystifies elements of security that are discussed widely in the news and popular press and investigates stereotypes about the process of security and the officers who work there

Two million people fly commercially every day in the United States, and every single passenger must interact with members of airport security. Why do travelers put up with long lines and invasive screenings, and why do TSA agents put up with the disrespect and anger directed at them? Shawna Malvini Redden asked this question for years, flying around the country questioning passengers and security officers and recording everything from carry-on bananas to passengers who go mildly bonkers when their water bottles are confiscated.  The answers she got are much more complex than she anticipated and involve a powerful combination of identity, emotion,

and history.


Redden met mission-oriented TSOs who described their job with reverent commitment and others who fit every lazy, deviant stereotype the media has to offer. And she ran into every type of passenger on the planet, from entitled business travelers to parents with toddlers to the hot mess, travels-once-a-year, can't-figure-out-how-to-get-through-the-security-checkpoint-without-crying flier. 101 Pat-Downs is the story of her research journey. Part confessional tale, part investigative research, and part light-hearted  social commentary, it's Mary Roach meets David Graeber.


The book presents the inside scoop on airport security interactions using Redden's experiences and those of passengers and TSA agents. Along the way, she introduces common "characters" of airport security, humanizing the stereotypically gruff TSO and explaining why so many passengers feel nervous inside TSA checkpoints.