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Lone Wolf: Eric Rudolph: Murder, Myth, and the Pursuit of an American Outlaw Hardcover – November 7, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Eric Rudolph, who in 1996 and 1997 set off deadly bombs in Atlanta and Birmingham—at two abortion clinics, a gay bar and at Olympic Centennial Park—was both reviled as a terrorist and celebrated as a folk hero when he evaded the largest manhunt in FBI history for five years. Vollers, a National Book Award finalist for Ghosts of Mississippi, was—for reasons Rudolph never made clear—the only journalist he consented to communicate with (in writing only) while he was awaiting trial. She draws on his letters to her to great effect in providing not just a page-turning account of the hunt for Rudolph, but, more important, a look into the "remarkable and frightening mind" of a man who, after finally pleading guilty to avoid the death penalty, remained proud of his murderous actions. The cunning fugitive, whose aim was to protest abortion, explains to Vollers how he survived the winter cold in North Carolina's Nantahala forest, how he scavenged for food, talked to himself and read newspapers aloud to prevent his vocal cords from deteriorating during the years when he spoke to no one. Vollers provides an equally striking portrait of Rudolph's mother, a misguided spiritual seeker who led her son into contact with a Christian Identity compound and other survivalist, antigovernment extremists. There are plenty of surprises and conundrums in this breathtaking and deeply disturbing attempt to answer the elusive question, "Who is Eric Rudolph?" (Nov. 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Bookmarks Magazine
That Eric Rudolph admired the film version of Maryanne Vollers's book Ghosts of Mississippi perhaps explains why Vollers was the only journalist with whom he corresponded while awaiting trial. On the basis of Rudolph's letters, FBI files, and interviews with his family, this compelling true-crime storydraws a portrait of a "lone-wolf" criminal who, fueled by antiabortion and antihomosexual sentiment, felt compelled to kill. The best parts center on Rudolph; when he disappears, the narrative slows down. While most reviewers agree that Vollers's grisly details and humanistic approach create a "gripping investigation of the bomber's mind" (New York Times Book Review), a few contend that readers never fully understand Rudolph's actions. In the end, notes the Los Angeles Times, Voller acknowledges that a satisfying answer to the question "Who is Eric Rudolph?" may be "as elusive as the man himself once was."
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
This was no easy task. Researching law enforcement and prosecutorial actions can be very difficult, as they are rarely made public and many law enforcement personnel (and criminals) are wary of the media. Also, trying to get into the mind of someone who is intelligent enough to manufacture a device as complex and dangerous as a bomb, but amoral enough to actually want to use it, is extremely hard to do. Ms. Vollers takes this task on very well and tries her best to show a fair and even-handed account of Rudolph, his crimes and the response from the law enforcement community.
The book moves along quickly, starting with the bombings, moving into the manhunt in the hills of western North Carolina and finally ending up with Rudolph's capture and prosecution. This book does not glorify Rudolph's actions in any way. Rudolph murdered three people and seriously maimed another. The excuses he gives for his actions only harm his cause instead of supporting it, a fact that the author brings forth at the end of her book. Ms. Vollers has some decent access to law enforcement and to Rudolph himself and is able to put both sides into perspective when explaining the events surrounding the investigation and prosecution of Rudolph. I am sure the hardest part of the author's job was getting the residents of North Carolina to discuss them with some sort of objectivity. After reading this, I firmly believe that Rudolph would still be a fugitive if he had actually been born in this area. The fact that he was a Florida transplant was the one factor that kept him a true outsider in that community.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.
I was not disappointed when I picked up the book on Christmas evening and could not put it down. Rarely do I read a book cover to cover in less than a week. Vollers' text is the rare exception.
As a scholar, I found the book to be well written (although I did note a few editorial errors such as the fact "Flint, Michigan" is spelled "Flynt" in the book) and easy to follow and read. It was obvious that Vollers had done an exceptional job of researching her subject and presented what I perceive to be a fair and accurate reporting of the events from beginning to end.
In order to verify this, I actually took the time to followup on some of the information and citations that Vollers mentions in her text that are easily available via the internet. The information contained in her text was true to form. While some of this information had been edited(I suspect for space and form reasons), anyone with a computer can find the full text readily available if they care to read in more detail Rudolph's writings or other information cited in the text.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in Rudolph, his actions, or the history behind the events, investigations, and eventual capture of Rudolph.
A real page turner.
We all know how the story began and ended, yet the book is still entertaining and highly recommended. The details and inner look at the crimes and their impact are portrayed in a story-like form. Anyone interested in right-wing crime, domestic or lone wolf terrorism, or just a good non-fiction book should check this out.