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Ruby Ridge: The Truth and Tragedy of the…

Ruby Ridge: The Truth and Tragedy of the Randy Weaver Family

by Jess Walter

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1145157,100 (4.02)7



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This is a terrific accounting, balanced and very thorough, of the Weaver family and the disastrous standoff at Ruby Ridge that resulted in the deaths of three people (four, if you count the restaurateur who had a total nervous breakdown when he saw what the American government was willing to do to its citizens).

There's plenty of trauma to go around in this story, but the last few pages of this book are (unintentionally) completely goddamn horrifying. It feels like the whole messy edifice came down at once - Kevin Harris got his settlement, the Aryan Nations compound was destroyed, the Ninth Circuit Court finally ruled that it was possible to indict a federal agent for murder, Timothy McVeigh was executed. The Radical Right was in retreat, and the seemingly-invincible federal law enforcement agencies were being held (somewhat) accountable. In June of 2001. The gulf between that time and this one is almost unfathomable. ( )
  jen.e.moore | Sep 25, 2018 |
This was actually Jess' first book, a work of non-fiction. It was about the Weaver family who had very strong religious and anti-government beliefs. They moved to a cabin in the middle of the woods of Idaho. Their extreme views and actions led to a stand-off between the family and the FBI. Mrs. Weaver and her son were killed during the fight. This book describes the tragedy and details what happened in that cabin on Ruby Ridge. It was tragic and enthralling. ( )
  BrianaJae | Jul 7, 2010 |
Fanaticism, in all of its forms and origins, makes for fascinating reading. Walter tells the story of Randy and Vicki Weaver, two ordinary Americans, who drop out of society to live off the grid with their children on a rugged Idaho mountaintop. The two are driven to the path by an unusual, fanatical faith, largely of their own making, which combined aspects of Orthodox Judaism, Aryan Christian Identity movement, and fundamental Christian theology. As the family distances themselves more and more from the mainstream, they are drawn to radical and violent groups popular in the area at the time. In the course of associating with members of these groups, Randy makes himself a target of an ATF weapons investigation. After being arrested, Randy is released from jail and he then refuses to appear for his court date. When the US Marshall service tries to bring him in, they realize that he is not going to come off the mountain. By the time the story ends, dozens of lives are ruined and lost.

Walter has a knack for getting inside the heads of the members of this unusual family. He is able to evoke empathy and understanding for people who are truly on the margin. Walter also pinpoints how poor communication and a lack of common sence turn a simple fugitive investigation into a very public and very tragic ordeal. There is blame a plenty for all involved, including the law enforcement agencies involved. The book, however, is fair, not laying the blame solely at any one participant's doorstep, though a writer could easily have done so.

The book is well written and a good read. It doesn't get a better rating because it didn't grab my attention. It was a good read but not great. Certainly an interesting recommendation for anyone interested in true crime, law enforcement, or fanaticism.

3 1/2 bones

Largely based on Walter's uncanny ability to get inside the Weaver family and make them more than fringe fanatics. ( )
1 vote blackdogbooks | Dec 11, 2008 |
Fascinating look inside the workings of the FBI and how our government tries to suppress individuals who do not agree with the status quo. In the end a tragic confrontation that did not need to happen. ( )
  kymarlee | May 6, 2008 |
"Walter also made the terrain and climate of northern Idaho really come alive for me. I can picture the Weaver cabin, the hills, the rutted roads, the wet, and the winter as easily as I can picture the egos of Weaver, his attorney Gerry Spencer, and many of the federal agents."

Read it all at http://troysworktable.blogspot.com/2008/05/every-knee-shall-bow.html ( )
  troysworktable | May 5, 2008 |
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That unto me, every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
--Isaiah 45:23 (The King James Version)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006039174X, Hardcover)

A cautionary retelling of the Weaver family case recounts the incidents that led up to Vicki and Sammy Weaver's deaths and the four-month trial that exposed a government abuse of power. 50,000 first printing. $75,000 ad/promo. Tour.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:56 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"On the last hot day of summer 1992, gunfire cracked over a rocky knob in northern Idaho, just south of the Canadian border. By the next day three people were dead, and a small war was joined, pitting the full might of federal law enforcement against one well-armed family. Drawing on extensive interviews with Randy Weaver's family, government insiders, and others, Jess Walter traces the paths that led the Weavers to their confrontation with federal agents and led the government to treat a family like a gang of criminals." "This is the story of what happened on Ruby Ridge: the tragic and unlikely series of events that destroyed a family, brought down the number two man in the FBI, and left in its wake a nation increasingly attuned to the dangers of unchecked federal power."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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