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American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing Hardcover – April 3, 2001
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"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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Top Customer Reviews
It is not afraid either, to venture into the question about whether McVeigh's act---horribly misguided as it was---accomplished many of the very goals he set out to accomplish. Primarily, the toning down and moderating of the Government's approach to the Militia and related movements. On the latter score, at the end of the day, it is hard to differentiate between the moderating effects his action might have had vs. what came about in terms of criticism in the aftermath of the Waco standoff, but it is hard not to conclude that his unjustified act was part of the change in attitude.
If you want to get a somewhat more in-depth look at the bombing investigation Simple Truths, by Bob Burke, Jon Hersley, and Larry Tongate is recommended. But if you want to understand the perpetrator and his motivations as well as the aftermath of the bombing in terms of the trial, imprisonment, and execution of Timothy McVeigh, this is the source!
Truth be told, Tim McVeigh was an extremely complex individual. McVeigh loved his country dearly, yet he loathed his government. McVeigh was a highly logical person, yet he didn’t consider that the carnage in Oklahoma City would alienate people from his cause. McVeigh detested bullies, yet he used a three-ton bomb to murder innocent people. One of the strongest qualities of “American Terrorist” is that it never shies away from the complexities and contradictions of McVeigh’s personality. Herbeck and Michel don’t portray McVeigh as a one-dimensional madman or fanatic. Instead, they portray McVeigh exactly as he was: a deeply flawed and deeply passionate person, who truly believed that the Oklahoma City Bombing served the greater good.
“American Terrorist” is also an outstanding read because it explores the antecedents of the Oklahoma City Bombing in a fair, dispassionate manner. To their eternal credit, Herbeck and Michel do an excellent job of examining how the federal government’s actions at Ruby Ridge and Waco precipitated the bombing. At the same time, Herbeck and Michel never lose sight of the bombing victims or their loved ones. Every page of “American Terrorist” is written with empathy, honesty, and care, ensuring that all sides of this complicated, epoch-defining tragedy are analyzed in their entirety.
The bottom line: “American Terrorist” came out in 2001, and since its release, I’ve read the book three times. There’s no doubt that Herbeck and Michel’s work is a masterpiece of intelligent reporting. The authors don’t make McVeigh look like some kind of saint in the book, but they don’t vilify him as some kind of monster either. Instead, after reading “American Terrorist,” one gets the sense that McVeigh possessed the same aversion to tyranny, the same antipathy for arrogance, and the same revolutionary spirit as the Founding Fathers. In fact, given a different set of circumstances, McVeigh might’ve found himself in a high political office in Washington, not an execution chamber in Terre Haute.
Stylistically, I found it to be at times verbose and redundant. That's my only complaint/annoyance. Definitely worth your time, though.
It is also worth nothing that American Terrorist was written with considerable input from Timothy McVeigh, so if you are looking for a memoir/manifesto from the man himself this is as close as you will ever get.
Bottom line: Nothing should stop you - read this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was deeply saddened by the horror that occurred that day.
Sad tim couldn't have been stopped before it happened.Read more