Oklahoma City: What the Investigation Missed--and Why It Still Matters

Oklahoma City: What the Investigation Missed--and Why It Still Matters

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by Andrew Gumbel, Roger G. Charles
     
 

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Oklahoma City is a riveting account of one of the deadliest acts of terrorism on American soil, combining groundbreaking investigative research with a thrilling and true conspiracy story that has implications for national security and law enforcement today.

April 19, 1995: Timothy McVeigh drove into downtown Oklahoma City in a rented Ryder truck

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Overview

Oklahoma City is a riveting account of one of the deadliest acts of terrorism on American soil, combining groundbreaking investigative research with a thrilling and true conspiracy story that has implications for national security and law enforcement today.

April 19, 1995: Timothy McVeigh drove into downtown Oklahoma City in a rented Ryder truck containing a fertilizer bomb that he and his army buddy Terry Nichols had made the previous day. He parked, hopped out of the truck, and walked away. Shortly after 9:00 a.m., the bomb obliterated one-third of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people, including 19 infants and toddlers.

Weaving together key elements of personal correspondence with co-defendant Terry Nichols, hundreds of hours of interviews, and thousands of government documents, Oklahoma City: What the Investigation Missed—and Why It Still Matters by investigative reporter Andrew Gumbel and retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel Roger G. Charles is a riveting piece of journalism and a cautionary tale for our times.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Intriguing leads—but no smoking guns—point to a wider conspiracy in the 1995 terrorist bombing in Oklahoma City in this suggestive recap. Journalists Gumbel (Steal This Vote) and Charles trace the plot by antigovernment zealot Timothy McVeigh and his submissive sidekick, Terry Nichols, to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which killed 168 people, and the allegedly botched investigation. The authors’ meandering, disjointed probe examines evidence of additional culprits that they contend was dismissed by fractious federal investigators: eyewitness accounts of a “John Doe Two” present when the bomb-bearing truck was rented; sightings of other figures accompanying McVeigh during the attack; McVeigh’s extensive contacts with other extremists. Advancing a restrained, plausible theory that there were other violent, ultraconservative racists in on the crime besides the two who confessed, the authors offer an inconclusive case that doesn’t tell us which potential co-conspirators did what. They do paint a vivid portrait of the right-wing circles in which McVeigh and Nichols moved, a colorful milieu of gun nuts, fundamentalist sectarians, cross-dressers, meth heads, and costumed neo-Nazi bank robbers. While not fingering a specific perp, Gumbel and Charles present a telling sketch of the subculture that birthed the crime. Photos. Agent: Gail Ross, Ross Yoon Agency. (Apr.)
Michael Isikoff
“The story of the Murrah building bombing receives its most comprehensive accounting yet… It is a cautionary and at times startling tale, filled with bizarre characters from the outer fringes of American political life, with continuing relevance today.”
Wall Street Journal
“Extraordinarily well-researched… The book brilliantly deconstructs the investigation.”
Salon
“Impressive... There are enough freak-show touches to keep an FX drama stocked for three seasons… As Gumbel and Rogers tell it, the bombing investigation fell short of discovering the truth because of sloppiness, self-serving intra-office politics, and obstructive turf wars among law enforcement agencies.”
Kansas City Star
“A well-reported, sober assessment... They make a strong case that some individuals involved in the bombing remain at liberty...the message is important for the future security of the U.S. citizenry.”
Tulsa World
“Credible and relevant... Offers a perspective other than what was proved at the trials of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols...and explores the unsettling question of whether such an event could happen again by homegrown perpetrators.”
The Tucson Citizen
“This crisply written, fully documented book will anger you.”
The Commercial Dispatch (Mississippi)
“The most comprehensive account yet...will dash the smug assertions at the time that the feds had caught all the perpetrators.”
Library Journal
Gumbel has been writing about the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing for over ten years. Charles was a consultant for ABC's 20/20 1996–97 coverage of the bombing. Both are award-winning investigative journalists, and Charles is also a retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel. So we should pay attention when they argue that Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols did not act alone but were part of a disaffected antigovernment militia. With a 100,000-copy first printing and likely of considerable import; I hope people will listen.
Kirkus Reviews
Journalists Gumbel (Steal This Vote: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in America, 2005, etc.) and Charles investigate the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, uncovering failures in the official investigation and making a strong case for a larger conspiracy that fueled the attack. In this minutely researched book, the authors take a multifaceted approach. Beginning days before the April 19 attack on the Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, the authors retrace the movements of the two men officially accused of the crime, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, as well as their known associates in radicalized militia communities scattered across the Midwest. Tracing the events of that day, the authors recount the series of miscalculations that led the bombers to switch targets, as well as hypothesize about the larger networks of discontented extremists who had long been threatening a response to the federal government's bungled handling of the Waco situation. Gumbel and Charles balance their account of the perpetrators with multi-agency accounts from FEMA, the FBI, the ATF and local police and fire departments. By comparing these agency narratives, it becomes clear that many errors in the investigation were the product of miscommunication, territorialism and, in some cases, purposeful misrepresentations on the part of agents. The many voices of responders and investigators add to the voluminous cast of characters featured, from the ranks of extremist militia groups to the stalwart firefighters who treated the first victims. The authors deliver a compelling, articulate narrative history, thorough in both mainstream theories about the bombing and fringe conspiracy theories. A valuable contribution to the larger study of terrorism in the United States.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062100924
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/24/2012
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
36,597
File size:
10 MB

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Michael Isikoff

“The story of the Murrah building bombing receives its most comprehensive accounting yet… It is a cautionary and at times startling tale, filled with bizarre characters from the outer fringes of American political life, with continuing relevance today.”

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