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Ashes of Waco: An Investigation Paperback – April 1, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

DICK J. REAVIS was a 1990 Nieman Fellow in Journalism. He has been a Senior Editor of Texas Monthly, a reporter for the Dallas Observer, and a Business Correspondent for the San Antonio Light, and has written for numerous other publications. He is also the author of several books, including Conversations with Moctezuma and Fodor's Texas. He lives in Dallas. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Syracuse University Press (April 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815605021
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815605027
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
If you have any interest in learning more about what all the hubbub is about concerning the events that took place in Waco, Texas in 1993 (and you should) then this book is a good place to start. Of the books I have read concerning the Waco tragedy this one is one of the easiest to read and follow.
Now, if you are pro-ATF/FBI then you will not like this book. The author does have a decidedly pro-Davidian bias to his writing so it is not an evenhanded version of the story but it stops short of being an ultra-right wing diatribe. It is what I believe to be basically the truth concerning the matter and that is that despite the technicalities of the alleged wrongdoing of the Davidians the government grossly overstepped its authority and trampled the Constitution that they are sworn to uphold in order to get their way.
The real issues here are not whether the Davidians broke some relatively minor firearms law or even whether they committed suicide by setting the fire that killed them or whether the government set the fire accidentally or deliberately. It is about a government that has a warped sense of what's right and basically makes war on its own citizens in order to prove that it is in control. It is about the frightening trend of our government to think of themselves as our rulers and above the law that they are sworn to uphold and it is certainly a chilling realization of that old saying about absolute power corrupting absolutely.
The bottom line for me is that the ATF planned this raid as an attack from the get go to make itself look good for their upcoming budget review and chose a fringe religious group to exploit because they thought that they would be good fodder for them from a political perspective.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Kenny Unferth on April 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book covers the events that led to the Waco disaster as well as the disaster itself. It starts with the Millarites and proceeds all the way up through the raid, the siege and the trial of the surviving Davidians. It also covers the life of David Koresh from his birth to his death, and provides some interesting information about the lives of some of the other Davidians, and a very brief summary of the religious views of the community. Its description of events is both very readable and clear.
Perhaps the aspect of this book that I like the most is its even handedness. Many people seem to have a sense that a useful lie is often better than an inconvenient truth. To them making your case is what's important, and getting at the facts is secondary. Dick Reavis clearly rejects this and believes in bringing forth the truth, even when it does not support his own sympathies. I find this very refreshing. He covers both the seamy side of David Koresh, and the evidence of both illegal and immoral activity on the part of the Davidians and of law enforcement officials. Where evidence is inconclusive or conflicts with other evidence he lets us know what evidence there is, and lets us decide.
Perhaps more importantly than the catalog of events this book also gives us a look at the Davidians as people. It tries to tell us who these people were. We are presented information about life in Mt. Carmel, how they lived and how they viewed the world. This is at least as interesting as the presentation of the facts.
I do have some criticisms of this book. For one this book does have a tendency to waste its already too few pages on what amounts to side issues that seem to me irrelevant to an understanding of what happened at Waco.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
I am a new york times bestselling author of a business book that came out this year. I had to comment on this book because Mr Reavis brings so much to light about what happened in Waco - I was shocked and I had no idea that this went on - the press didn't go near it - this is America - whether you or I agree with their "cult" views or not, it doesn't change the fact that these were American citizens protected by American laws, and they were butchered by our own tanks, tear gas, and machine guns - funded by our own tax dollars - no trial, no evidence, no nothing - women and children were literally run over by tanks and died in brutal and violent tear gas raids - if they weren't shot first - it makes me sick to my stomach - and it should make every consicious american sick as well - the FBI and the ATF had no business being there - the day Waco burned is a very dark day for our Constitution and for American history - and it is on Janet Reno's watch - the founding fathers would turn over in their graves.....
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By blackaciddevil on December 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
Out of all the books I've read on the Waco Incident(and I've read quite a few), The Ashes of Waco has to be the most informative, in-depth book on the subject. I think, mostly being, because Dick Reavis stuck with the story long after all the others gave up on it after the fire occurred. He also gives an honest look at both sides of the coin and that's what makes good journalism. That, in turn, makes a great book.
The Ashes of Waco is a compelling read that you'll definitely get into and finish til the end.
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