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Oklahoma City Hardcover – April 24, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: WilliamMr; First Edition edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061986445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061986444
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Extraordinarily well-researched… The book brilliantly deconstructs the investigation.” (Wall Street Journal)

“The story of the Murrah building bombing receives its most comprehensive accounting yet… It is a cautionary and at times startling tale, filled with bizarre characters from the outer fringes of American political life, with continuing relevance today.” (Michael Isikoff, The Daily Beast)

“Impressive... There are enough freak-show touches to keep an FX drama stocked for three seasons… As Gumbel and Rogers tell it, the bombing investigation fell short of discovering the truth because of sloppiness, self-serving intra-office politics, and obstructive turf wars among law enforcement agencies.” (Salon)

“A well-reported, sober assessment... They make a strong case that some individuals involved in the bombing remain at liberty...the message is important for the future security of the U.S. citizenry.” (Kansas City Star)

“Credible and relevant... Offers a perspective other than what was proved at the trials of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols...and explores the unsettling question of whether such an event could happen again by homegrown perpetrators.” (Tulsa World)

“This crisply written, fully documented book will anger you.” (The Tucson Citizen)

“The most comprehensive account yet...will dash the smug assertions at the time that the feds had caught all the perpetrators.” (The Commercial Dispatch (Mississippi))

From the Back Cover

In the early morning of April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh drove into downtown Oklahoma City in a rented Ryder truck containing a deadly fertilizer bomb that he and his army buddy Terry Nichols had made the previous day. He parked in a handicapped-parking zone, hopped out of the truck, and walked away into a series of alleys and streets. Shortly after 9:00 A.M., the bomb obliterated one-third of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people, including 19 infants and toddlers. McVeigh claimed he'd worked only with Nichols, and at least officially, the government believed him. But McVeigh's was just one version of events. And much of it was wrong.

In Oklahoma City, veteran investigative journalists Andrew Gumbel and Roger G. Charles puncture the myth about what happened on that day—one that has persisted in the minds of the American public for nearly two decades. Working with unprecedented access to government documents, a voluminous correspondence with Terry Nichols, and more than 150 interviews with those immediately involved, Gumbel and Charles demonstrate how much was missed beyond the guilt of the two principal defendants: in particular, the dysfunction within the country's law enforcement agencies, which squandered opportunities to penetrate the radical right and prevent the bombing, and the unanswered question of who inspired the plot and who else might have been involved.

To this day, the FBI heralds the Oklahoma City investigation as one of its great triumphs. In reality, though, its handling of the bombing foreshadowed many of the problems that made the country vulnerable to attack again on 9/11. Law enforcement agencies could not see past their own rivalries and underestimated the seriousness of the deadly rhetoric coming from the radical far right. In Oklahoma City, Gumbel and Charles give the fullest, most honest account to date of both the plot and the investigation, drawing a vivid portrait of the unfailingly compelling—driven, eccentric, fractious, funny, and wildly paranoid—characters involved.


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Customer Reviews

Reading them together gives one pause, and makes one think.
Fredrick J. Ludwig
I have no hesitation in saying that these authors have no standing or credentials to dismiss what a distinguished demolitions expert had to say.
Daniel C Leggett
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and the presentation of the information it contained.
Philip S

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

116 of 131 people found the following review helpful By E. Woods on February 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was one of the retired FBI agents Gumbel wanted to interview for this book. We exchanged ten emails in April 2011; the last one I did receive (along with an attachment that I had seen previously) and replied with "Auto Response...Returned unopened" typed into the subject line.

I chose not to answer Gumbel's questions for two reasons; one, I'm under no obligation to, and secondly, being cautious and concerned about the author's potential bias that was raised in the emails, came across a few disturbing Gumbel quotes, "...the rotten History of Democracy in America," "George Bush on global warming is one of those marriages of speaker and subject that can't help but generate its own peculiar brand of spectacular bulls***," and regarding the Oklahoma City bombing, "Like failure to prevent 9/11, this is a case of the federal government first failing to recognize or act on crucial warning signs and then claiming there were no warning signs at all. It's about coming up with a plausible cover story and sticking to it, no matter what. In contrast to the most glaring failures of the Bush administration, though, the government's bluff on Oklahoma City has gone largely uncalled."

My initial suspicion to his--I'm just an honest journalist approach where he said "I would vigorously take issue with your accusation of `bias' and submit that you are trying to discredit me ahead of time..." was confirmed as his final email ended with a veiled threat; "Up to you (to answer his questions), obviously, whether to respond, or leave the allegation unanswered. I will record your response in the book either way." Which Gumbel did on p. 402.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steven on December 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has a lot of good information that is different than the official account of what happened. The thing is that it doesn't really say ironclad alternative theories but it demonstrates a lot of open ends that could be investigated further. Those open ends are not evidence that would probably stand up in court but are more like really good suspicions, so the author has a different standard of evidence than what the investigators had when they brought the case to trial. One thing I didn't like was that the author described one of the criminals who lived near Allentown very negatively and also made comments about his family, and I thought that was unnecessary. I also didn't like that in one sentence the author grouped the NRA into the far right because I think NRA is mainstream and if the author wasn't a limey he probably would have a different take. Overall though I thought it was a good story to read. It presents a lot of good information that I wish some of these characters in the story would verify publicly, but that would mean incriminating themselves if the information was in fact true. There are still many gaps in the story (extra leg, 24 eyewitnesses say McVeigh was not alone and some say he was with a whole group), but I think a lot of people just want the story to be over.
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Daniel C Leggett on August 1, 2012
Format: Audible Audio Edition Verified Purchase
I was excited to get this book but soon disappointed. When the authors in one or two sentences dismissed Gen. Partin's analysis as flawed, I knew it to be a diversion, no matter what else they revealed. I have no hesitation in saying that these authors have no standing or credentials to dismiss what a distinguished demolitions expert had to say. If a truck bomb could have done what was claimed in OK City, a similar truck bomb would have brought down the WTC in 1993. This book may be useful in exploring irrelevant detail, but misses the mark in pinpointing what really happened.
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22 of 30 people found the following review helpful By HD on February 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Gumbel whiffed on this one. He missed every opportunity to set the record straight. Instead, he chose to try and demonize the government. He ignored fact after fact, all clearly set out in the record. He was simply working to get his own agenda out there. What a shame. A waste of resources. Don't waste your money on this one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Fredrick J. Ludwig on March 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For those that followed the stories surrounding the bombing, this is a must read. I would encourage you to first read the book by Stephen Jones, Others Unknown, and then this book. Reading them together gives one pause, and makes one think. This book is well written, and read fairly fast for non-fiction.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Gail on July 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Lots of detail, but also lots of wrong information and unchecked details. Enough sloppy work to make me doubt what I read in this account.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Grady T. Birdsong on February 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book about the Oklahoma City bombing covers the entire ordeal. You will learn a lot more behind the scene aspects than was released to the public. Roger Charles has done an excellent job of in-depth research of all the undercurrent happenings and details which will astound you! I could not put the book down when I started reading it...
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By H. Smukler on February 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover
If you are like me and don't hang out at gun shows, this book will be a wake-up call. Who are these people, that socialize with right-wing nuts, plan the next revolution, quote Jefferson on the "blood of patriots" and practice making bombs in their back yards. Maybe I'm naive, but I've never known or seen any of the characters in Gumbel's book and yet they appear to be everywhere, especially in Oklahoma City (and Waco and Ruby Ridge). I grew up thinking the FBI does a pretty good job of "getting their man" and that given enough time, the media will get the story straight. So it never occurred to me that the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building was anything more than an open and shut case. After all, there was a Ryder Truck and an unhappy ex-Marine who I thought had confessed. Where was the mystery, because they caught Timothy McVeigh early on and after some confusion about Arab terrorists it became pretty clear that he was the man! How wrong I was and Gumbel's book lays it out in detail, easy to follow and actually opinionated, but in a good way. What I really liked was that Gumbel not only explains the results of his exhaustive research, but then comments on them in a way that fits his hypothesis. Normally, I wouldn't like that subjectivity, but early on I found myself in so much agreement with the premise of the book, that I ate up all the comments. The emphasis of the book is on the plot to blow up the federal building and only the last couple of chapters is devoted to the trial, which I would have liked to hear more about.
If you like the kinds of inside scoop/government ineptness stories that have come out of 9/11, Iraq/WMDs and of course the Kennedy assassination, then definitely add this book to your collection.
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