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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
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.
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. McVeigh was not always like that. America must understand what happened to him, what caused all the trouble. This is the only way that America can defend itself from this happening again. All the metal detectors in the world will not help a bit
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