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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Place to Start
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...
Published on July 22, 2001

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You think you know, but you have no idea
Before reading this book, I was only aware of the vague details of the Waco incident. I knew who, I knew when, I knew where, and I had a synopsis of what happened. I found the entire happening rather disturbing and creepy. Yet, upon seeing this book I thought to myself, this might be interesting, and it truly was. The Ashes of Waco: An Investigation opened up the...
Published on December 2, 2004 by Amy Johnson


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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Place to Start, July 22, 2001
By A Customer
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. Then when their home invasion tactics blew up in their face they and the FBI basically systematically assassinated those people because they had the temerity to stand up to the federal government's thuggery. In the end they tried to cover up their wrongdoing and punish the survivors for embarrassing them. Even if you believe that David Koresh and his people were a bunch of kooks it shouldn't matter: what the government did to those people is just wrong.
If you have any interest in hearing the non-government version of what went on during this business then give this book a try, but read other versions too. I also recommend "No More Wacos: What's Wrong with Federal Law Enforcement and How to Fix it".
Law enforcement should not be about using tanks to smash down walls to force people to submit; those are war tactics that have no place in how a government treats the citizens of a free society.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An objective and readable sift through Waco's ashes., April 23, 2000
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. Examples of these include arguments about the constitutionality of gun control, and a digression on other apocalyptic groups with rather tenuous relationships with the events at Waco. Also, I would have liked to see more of the negotiation tapes. Apparently Dick Reavis had access to all of them, but in his book we get only brief glimpses at what was going on in the negotiations.
In all these complaints should be seen as very minor. This is an excellent book and a great summary of the events at Waco, from an author who deserves our thanks for sticking with the story for long enough to get at the facts, and for presenting them to us so clearly and objectively.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars eye opening, October 27, 1999
By A Customer
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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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ashes of Waco....., December 13, 2003
By 
blackaciddevil (in the USA somewhere.....) - See all my reviews
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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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Journalist Investigates Waco Fiasco, April 17, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: The Ashes of Waco : An Investigation (Hardcover)
Dick Reavis has done what no other journalist has dared. He has written a thoughtful, fair, and detailed account of the events that took place in Waco. Mr. Reavis researched the Davidian movement and in the process revealed the fact that these people were not "nuts" but very religious people, who read and studied the bible.

Mr. Reavis did not make excuses for David Koresh's behavior, but rather explained the rationale motivating the Davidian Leader.

Mr. Reavis did not make excuses for the BATF, the FBI, or Janet Reno either. "Funding" was revealed as the original culprit leading to the fiasco. The government bungling that followed and helped lead to the final tragedy was laid out with precision.

Anyone interested in the subject of Waco, needs to read this book. I heard once that the closer you get to "good guys" and "bad guys," the further you get from the truth. Mr. Reavis steers clear of the good-guy, bad-guy syndrome, therefore bringing truth and light to a subject the national media continues to ignore
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You think you know, but you have no idea, December 2, 2004
Before reading this book, I was only aware of the vague details of the Waco incident. I knew who, I knew when, I knew where, and I had a synopsis of what happened. I found the entire happening rather disturbing and creepy. Yet, upon seeing this book I thought to myself, this might be interesting, and it truly was. The Ashes of Waco: An Investigation opened up the entire event to a new level. I feel it was a good book for me to start with. It was fairly short, only about 300 pages, and it was easy writing. Therefore, it was easy for me to follow and I now know at least more than the basics.

Throughout the book it was revealed that the other was moderately biased against the government, but I found the bias to be rather enlightening. It was good to read the other side of the story as opposed to just hearing what the government had to say about the entire situation. This book addressed many debatable issues involving Waco, and I thought it was an enjoyable read. This is the kind of book for beginners on this subject, like me, who are interested in finding out what people besides the government have to say.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A definitive primer about Waco, September 23, 1999
By A Customer
Reavis admirably portrays the malfeasance of the ATF, FBI and Justice in the Waco debacle, from bottom to top, and from beginning to the very end. An ugly affair, to be sure. The book gives a nice bit of detail and background on the Davidians and Koresh that helps the reader to place them within a more understandable context, loony though it still is. But the depiction of the entire government case can only disgust the average reader. Sad though it is, it is a must read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read book for Americans wanting more than Gov't lies, December 8, 1998
By A Customer
The book is a stellar achievement, a labor of love and concern for "the story behind the story", full of factual information the government did willfully conceal. Congress did a lousy job in researching this, or hearings would have produced indictments. Koresh's followers emerge from behind the mask of government lies and propaganda not blameless, but far less to blame than the ATF and FBI. An unprecedented tragedy wrought by government's motives (funding), incompetence (planning, undercover work and execution), arrogance (overstepping constitutional restraints, shutting down the media reportage, not righting their wrongs, demanding obeyance while violating Koresh's followers rights, and religious intolerance), and the final rape - a twisted and incomprehensible legal screwover by the presiding judge which reversed the jury's conclusions and verdicts, resulting in a 600 percent increase in sentencing beyond the maximum the jury agreed to, mooting the jury's purpose all together. The government lied to Koresh's followers in negotiations, lied to Koresh's lawyer, lied to governor Ann Richards to get helicopters, lied to the press/public, was caught lying in court, destroyed evidence,and demonstrated monumental incompetence. The book stays factual, and gives a solid bottom line analysis when the going gets hard to follow. The ATF/FBI emerge as unconscionable villains, the Mt. Carmelites emerge as tragic figures, human, and while not blameless it would be inhuman to continue dehumanizing them when you meet them through the pages of this book. the government's role of concealment and cover up, their veangeful nature, and the astonishing fact that there was no justice or serious investigation of misconduct, is just exasperating. Every citizen should read it, and care. Right now these people are languishing in prison, while government provocateurs got away scot-free. A terrific, important work, an investigative achievement.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WACO; a travesty, December 20, 2007
By 
Frank (Hacienda Heights, CA) - See all my reviews
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Dick Reavis makes his case that the government had little reason to investigate Koresh and even less to raid the compound at Mount Carmel. The government lied to the public about most of what happened, about who fired the first shots, about drug allegations, about child abuse. The FBI was duplicitous and negligent in gassing Mount Carmel and that alone could have started the fire that killed 76 people.
I would also recommend looking into the video evidence (FLIR) that shows gunfire from the federal agents.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reads easily -- Good overall review, May 24, 2001
By 
John Nipps (Lakewood, CO United States) - See all my reviews
I read this book when it was first published. One of the best aspects was the "evenhandedness" of it. Reavis doesn't scream about one side or the other, he describes the incident as it happened, according to his research. His style of writing is easy to read, clear and concise, as I would expect from a newspaper journalist. As a teacher I discussed this incident in my govt. class. For the students that sought further information re; Waco, I recomended this book. If you read only one book on the subject, let this be it. It may well inspire you to read further.
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The Ashes of Waco : An Investigation
The Ashes of Waco : An Investigation by Dick J. Reavis (Hardcover - July 24, 1995)
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