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American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing Hardcover – April 3, 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"The book is history. Michel and Herbeck have done us all a service." (New York Newsday)

"Probably the best recounting of the biggest true crime story in modern times, told by two crack investigative reporters." (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

"American Terrorist is the closest we'll get to the official testimony of Timothy McVeigh." (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

"The chill lasts long after you put the book down." (Denver Rocky Mountain News)

"An important contribution to history." (New York Daily News)

"In calm, unadorned prose, the authors methodically reconstruct...McVeigh's swift journey into ...hell." (The Buffalo News)

"Compelling. It gets inside the mind of a monster..." (The Daily Oklahoman)

"American Terrorist unfolds as the warped reflection of teh American Dream." (Fort Worth Star Telegram)

"This impeccably reported book...represents good journalism." (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 426 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (May 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060394072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060394073
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book, an unbiased review of Tim McVeigh's life, is outstanding!!! But, if you need to come away from this book with the view of Tim McVeigh as a highly disturbed, demonic psychopath, don't buy it! You won't find closue or peace in the pages of AMERICAN TERRORIST. Ever since the bombing, Americans have been looking for the monster in Tim McVeigh. Was his lonely childhood the root of his evil? The divorce of his parents? His inability to form relationships with women? Or his failure to make the Green Berets in his beloved Army? No! In this book McVeigh explains why he detonated his truck bomb killing 168 people. Simply enough, he hated the government, wanted revenge for the botched FBI and ATF raids on Ruby Ridge and WACO, and wanted to 'wake Americans up.' Americans celebrate our Founding Fathers who, like McVeigh, where revolutionary ideologues. Just because McVeigh's ideology conflicts with that of most Americans, doesn't make him a psychopath. To the contrary, he comes across as a chillingly likeable guy. So, if your looking for your own peace or for some inner turmoil in McVeigh that might possibly explain the Oklahoma City bombing, you might want to keep looking.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been living in the US for the past 5 years. It is in the nature of someone that comes from abroad to scholasticaly observe the new society that he lives in, compare the new culture with the culture of the homeland, and in general try to understand the laws of the new society that are formed by the people and the government.
This book taught me how superficial my understanding of the American culture was. This book is not only about McVeigh. This book is primarily about the gun culture in the United States and the antigovernment groups, their beliefs and their living habitat. I had never imagined that there are so many people in this land that share such antigovernement feelings. For the first time I understood what really gun owenership is all about. These are not simple matters. These matters run deep through the very formation of this society.
For most of the people McVeigh is a monster. This book does NOT follow this path. The authors try to follow mcVeigh from the time he was in the Army through his discharge, his frustration, his Gulf War experiences, the unemployment he faced afterwards, his reaction to the Waco incident, his involvement in the gun shows, his friendships. They authors try to understand how MvVeigh reached to the point of the bombing, step by step, trying to give a psycological explanation of what happened into the mind of this hero of the Gulf War. They do not justify what he did but they do not demonize him either. The authors themselves try to understand.
Anyone who thinks that MvVeigh is just a sick person or he does not have any logic or that he is just a monster must understand that this is only part of the story. America must understand why McVeigh was lead to the point of bombing a building full of innocent people.
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By A Customer on May 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I could not put this book down. There were times when I forgot that I was reading a story about a man who commited mass murder. Tim was a typical boy, who failed to get help after the war, and then was just lost. The authors, allowed you to look into the mind of Tim McVeigh. It is something that so many have wanted for such a long time. To know why he did what he did. I found that I couldn't wait till the part after the bombing, I wanted to know what Tim was thinking during the trial. If anything I wish that the authors would spend more time on and after the trial. I recommend this book to anyone who wantes to really know happened on April 19, 1995 and why it happened. Like others have said, don't be afraid to read it.
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By A Customer on May 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It is true what other reviewers have said about this book. It will give no closure to the victims of OKC or to the American public at large. The major question (Why?) is not answered here. Rather, the MOTIVATIONS of Tim McVeigh's actions are presented in a clear and thought provoking manner. At times, I thought the two journalist authors were quite redundant in repeating McVeigh's intense dislike of the US government, however, their redundancy was helpful towards the end of the book when they eluded to facts previously mentioned early on. I thought this book was thoroughly readable, and was able to learn a great deal from it...even some facts that I did not know before.
People want to say that McVeigh was a psychopath. I think this book clearly shows that he was/is not. He knew exactly what he was doing, when to do it, and what the consequences would be for his actions. When someone goes as far as leaving the license plate off of his getaway vehicle in order to be caught, to me, that is proof of his sanity. McVeigh wanted to get caught so that he could further convey his political message. Americans must look beyond the tragic loss of human life to the real issue behind this act of terrorism: McVeigh's hatred and distrust of the Federal government. If one looks at the Oklahoma City bombing in light of McVeigh's political agenda for committing the crime, he greatly succeeded in accomplishing his aims. People started to pay attention to what the government was doing and making it account for any actions taken. The militia/patriot movement in this country was exposed along with the realization that there are quite a few others who agree with McVeigh's thoughts and ideas, but who aren't willing to commit violent acts of terrorism in defense of them. It is a very chilling prospect to think about, but one that exists nonetheless.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about this topic.
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