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American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the…

American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing

by Lou Michel, Dan Herbeck

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I had just turned fifteen years old when the Oklahoma City bombing occurred; I distinctly remember being home from school (there was a teachers' inservice in the afternoon) and watching the news. Although I lived far away from Oklahoma City, it was the first time I remember thinking that the world wasn't safe.

Some may say that this book is sympathetic to McVeigh, but I didn't find it so. The authors are clear from the outset that they do not agree with McVeigh's politics or actions. If they painted McVeigh into a two-dimensional monster, that would be a travesty, to be honest, because he was not. Almost no one is, and to say that only cold "monsters" commit crimes does a great disservice to reality and society.

Instead, the authors do a wonderful job of painting a vivid picture of McVeigh, from a teenager bothered by his parents' divorce to his stint in the Army to the lack of gainful employment to the road to building a bomb that would ultimately kill 168 people.

If you want to learn about McVeigh or more about the Oklahoma City bombing, I would highly recommend this book. ( )
  schatzi | May 3, 2016 |
At first glace this book concerned me. The Buffalo reporters had every opportunity to cozy up to Timothy McVeigh, a terrorist murderer of hundreds, and make him a sympathetic character. Instead you're given an even handed look at how this terrorist sprung up from deep within the heart of America. The book also does a good job at putting to bed the numerous conspiracy theories circulating about the OKC bombings. ( )
  jmcclain19 | Aug 31, 2007 |
A well-written and riveting account of the one of most harrowing incidents in U.S. History. Authors Michel and Herbeck dig far beneath the headlines to give readers insights into McVeigh's psyche. Through meticulous research and interviews, they probe the relationships and events in McVeigh's life that may have had some influence on his horrific actions. Throughout the fast-moving book, the authors take clear steps to avoid making this tome an apology for McVeigh. Readers of true crime who are looking for a contemporary twist will devour "American Terrorist." ( )
1 vote brianinbuffalo | Mar 11, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lou Michelprimary authorall editionscalculated
Herbeck, Danmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060394072, Hardcover)

April 19, 1995. The Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City is ravaged by a vicious bombing that claims 168 innocent lives. Two years later, 29-year-old Timothy McVeigh, a decorated Gulf War veteran, is convicted of the crime and sentenced to death. Most of America knows his name. But only McVeigh himself knows exactly what happened on that ill-starred day. And despite his conviction, he has never gone on record in any forum to discuss the bombing.

Until now. Award-winning journalists Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck have been investigating the bombing for more than five years. They have conducted more than 300 interviews, compiling exclusive testimony from federal investigators, family and friends of McVeigh and survivors' and victims' families. And in 1997 they secured an extraordinary coup: in more than 75 hours of interviews, they persuaded Timothy McVeigh to give a complete account of his story -- from his formative childhood experiences, through his days in the Army, to a thorough portrait of the culture of right-wing separatists and gun-show extremism that was the breeding ground for the terrorist plot. It is the deeply unsettling story of an average American son driven to violence by his hatred of government. And its climax -- the first and only inside account of the planning and execution of the bombing -- answers at last the questions that have haunted Oklahoma City and the nation since that April day.

At once an explosive work of journalism and a uniquely American story, American Terrorist will help bring closure to a wound left too long open in our national psyche.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:34 -0400)

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At 9:02 A.M. on April 19, 1995, in the largest terrorist act ever perpetrated on American soil, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Office Building in Oklahoma City was destroyed by the explosion of a homemade truck bomb. One hundred and sixty-eight people, including nineteen children, were killed by the blast and more than five hundred others were injured. Timothy J. McVeigh, an antigovernment activist, was tried and convicted of the bombing. But to Americans everywhere, the story has remained a mystery, held hostage by McVeigh's refusal to explain or even discuss the event and his involvement. With this book, that mystery is solved and it will change our understanding of the crime. The authors have been researching the Oklahoma City bombing and the life of Tim McVeigh since the week the tragedy occurred. They have interviewed more than one hundred and fifty people from every stage of McVeigh's life, from his childhood friends to the psychiatrist hired by the defense team to examine him before his trial. They have garnered the cooperation of McVeigh's father, mother, and sister Jennifer, and gained exclusive access to previously unpublished family photographs and personal effects. In April 1999 during more than seventy-five hours of interviews, they persuaded Timothy McVeigh to give the first complete, candid, no-holds-barred account of his story, an account given with no compensation or right of approval, that sheds light on every aspect of McVeigh's life. It describes his relationship with Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier and the consuming distrust of the government shared by the three. And in its pages every detail of the bombing itself is reconstructed, from the origins of the plot to the moment of detonation and McVeigh's aborted getaway. This book puts to rest conspiracy theories that have previously gone unresolved. It clarifies the role and responsibility of every person who has been implicated in the plan. And it explains, thoroughly and definitively, how a decorated war hero from rural New York State became the worst mass murderer in the nation's history.… (more)

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