Apocalypse In Oklahoma: Waco and Ruby Ridge Revenged

Apocalypse In Oklahoma: Waco and Ruby Ridge Revenged

by Mark S. Hamm

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The 1995 destruction of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City is the most serious domestic terrorist attack in American history. Through media accounts and court papers, Hamm (American Skinheads: The Criminology and Control of Hate Crime, Greenwood, 1995) documents events leading to the attack and points to Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols as the guilty parties. He sees the bombings as retaliation for the federal government's actions against Randy and Vicki Weaver at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas. Hamm provides detailed biographies of McVeigh and Nichols and the influence of family, drugs, the military, and the gun culture on their actions. However, he differs from Kenneth Stern's A Force on the Plain (LJ 1/96) in seeing the two as operating outside the American militias and other far-right movements. This book is more scholarly than Brandon M. Stickney's "All-American Monster": The Unauthorized Biography of Timothy McVeigh (Prometheus, 1996) and is a valuable addition to a small but growing body of scholarly work on modern right-wing movements. Highly recommended to all libraries.Stephen L. Hupp, Univ. of Pittsburgh-Johnstown Owen Lib.
Hamm (criminology, Indiana State U.) offers his account of the April 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. He also argues that the excessive force of the federal government during the sieges in Waco, Texas and Ruby Ridge, Idaho, followed by the its refusal to admit errors in judgement, fed the suspicion and hatred of the government that fueled the bombing. A controversial book to accompany the trial of the government's suspect. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Kirkus Reviews
An academic's speculative take on the April 19, 1995, blast that leveled the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people (including 19 children) and injuring over 500 more.

Drawing largely on contemporary news accounts of the tragedy and its aftermath, Hamm (Criminology/Indiana State Univ.) offers a plausible if not original explanation of what triggered the terrorist act. Noting that the FBI's use of deadly force to end standoffs at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Tex., and Randy Weaver's backwoods cabin atop Idaho's Ruby Ridge outraged right-wing radicals, he goes on to review the outré beliefs espoused by extremists of this ilk (militias, skinheads, survivalists, Identity Christians, et al.). Turning next to the defendants in the Oklahoma case, the author profiles Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols in considerable detail. A decorated veteran of the Desert Storm campaign, McVeigh met Nichols while both were serving in the army. A disaffected loner who embraced the hate-filled antigovernment canons of the ultra-right, McVeigh apparently dominated his comrade-in-arms. By Hamm's account, Ruby Ridge and Waco gave the ex-soldier (made periodically delusional by an addiction to crystal methamphetamine) the push needed to target and destroy the Murrah Building with a homemade truck bomb. While the author skillfully marshals a wealth of circumstantial evidence suggesting the accused's guilt, he never quite manages to connect the solitary McVeigh (other than philosophically) with organized groups of potentially violent dissidents. Also troublesome is the verve and frequency with which the author potshots the FBI and even moderately conservative Republicans (whom he persists in lumping with die-hard reactionaries).

Serviceable as a reconstruction of a national disaster, but it fails to substantiate the conspiracy theories that inform it.

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Product Details

Northeastern University Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.44(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.07(d)

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