American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing

American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing

by Lou Michel, Dan Herbeck

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Overview

American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing by Lou Michel, Dan Herbeck

At 9:02 a.m. April 19, 1995, in what was at that time largest terrorist attack ever perpetrated on American soil, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was destroyed by the explosion of a 7,000-pound 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 anti-government activitist, was tried, convicted of the bombing and executed on June 11, 2001. But to Americans everywhere, the story has remained a mystery, held hostage by McVeigh's refusal to explain or even discuss the even and his involvement. But prior to his death, he spoke to Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck, two reporters for The Buffalo News in Western New York, where McVeigh was raised. With this book, the mystery is solved. American Terrorist will change, unmistakeably and permanently our understanding of the crime. In a thoroughly researched book, American Terrorist sheds light on every aspect of McVeigh's life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781682224953
Publisher: BookBaby
Publication date: 10/31/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 290,732
File size: 651 KB

About the Author

Lou Michel is a staff reporters for the Buffalo News. Michel is the recipient of several Associated Press awards for his writing on topics including the Oklahoma City bombing. He lives in western New York with their families.

Dan Herbeck is a staff reporters for the Buffalo News. Herbeck has won national and statewide awards for his stories on fraud, government corruption, and the New York State prison system. He lives in western New York with his families.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Boy Next Door

I struggle with the question: Do I love my parents? ... I have veryfew memories of my childhood, of interaction with my parents. Ican't blame them for anything that's happened to me. I was oftenby myself or with neighbors. Most of my memories focus on that.

— Timothy McVeigh

At 11:45 p.m. on April 22, 1968, a phone call cut short Bill McVeigh's night shift at Harrison Radiator in Lockport, New York.

"You better go home. Your wife's going to have a baby," his foreman called out after hanging up with Mildred Noreen "Mickey" McVeigh. Mickey had called the plant-to summon her husband home. Ignoring the predicted due date of April 25, the second of the McVeighs' children was arriving ahead of schedule.

Bill McVeigh, a tall, lean man with a mop of reddish-brown hair, came from a family of hard workers with strong backs. He was second generation at Harrison, the factory that supplied General Motors with car radiators. As he hurried away from his post, he wondered whether he was about to welcome the family's third Harrison worker into the world.

A natural mathematician able to tally long columns of numbers in his head, McVeigh looked up into the night sky outside the plant. Crystals of snow tumbled through the air. April was almost over, but the snow was nothing shocking to Bill. He'd wintered in western New York his whole life. What interested him was the statistical contrast in temperatures. Earlier that day, the temperature had risen to almost seventy degrees. Now, the mercury had plunged low enough to speckle the night airwith snowflakes.

As Bill McVeigh strode on long legs toward his car, parked with thousands of others in a massive lot, he was consumed by nervous excitement. He was anxious to know whether this time Mickey would give birth to a son. A boy would give them one of each. In the long term, of course, it didn't really matter; Bill and Mickey dreamed of having a big family, and at some point, they reasoned, the odds were bound to yield a son.

Bill jumped into his car. He hadn't far to drive. He sometimes walked to and from work in those early days, when the McVeighs were a one-car family. From his backyard on junction Road, across a sweeping field of grass, you could see Harrison. Others might have been put off by the idea of looking out upon their place of employment during off-hours, but Bill didn't mind at all. He was a devoted company man, always glad to have the work. He would punch the time clock for thirty-six years without a grain of resentment.

The wheels of McVeigh's 1966 Chevrolet Biscayne—he was always a GM man—crunched as they rolled up the gravel driveway to his tiny three-bedroom ranch. In a moment McVeigh swept his wife into the car and the two got back on the road, barrelling toward Lockport, a city split in two by the murky waters of the Erie Canal. When they arrived five minutes later at Lockport Memorial Hospital, it was a familiar sight: they'd made the same journey for their daughter Patty two years before, nine months practically to the day after Mickey and Bill's wedding on August 28, 1965.

For all their enthusiasm about having a big family, Mickey had married reluctantly. Part of her wanted motherhood. The other part had wanted to pursue a career as a stewardess. It was only after she met and married Bill McVeigh that she had settled down, taking a job as a travel agent.

Bill McVeigh's family had for generations lived a peaceful life as farmers beside the Erie Canal. But by the time Bill was born, only fragments of that life remained. As a boy, Bill and his brother Jim worked on their grandfather Hugh McVeigh's eighty-acre farm at Bear Ridge and Robinson Roads in Lockport, helping to harvest the hay that fed the handful of cattle their grandfather raised. When Hugh McVeigh died in 1955, the family's fanning tradition came to an end.

Bill's father and mother, Edward and Angela McVeigh, reared Bill and Jim in a farmhouse Ed had helped build at 5940 Bear Ridge Road, on a plot from Hugh's old farm. The house faced the Erie Canal, which to the boys and their friends was known as "the hills" because of the waterway's steep banks. The brothers were careful to stay out of the water. Neither of them knew how to swim, and one of their companions had drowned in the channel's fifteen feet of water.

Ed McVeigh was the brick and mortar of the McVeigh family, a lifelong auto worker who kept his family going in the face of tragedy. In 1942, after Angela fell down a flight of stairs shortly after giving birth to Jim, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis; she would never walk again. Angela was forced to rely on Ed's strong arms and back to lift her from bed and keep things running in the house. Yet Ed resolved to make sure his two sons had as close to a normal childhood as possible. At night, after Ed went to work, his elderly mother, Wilhamina, and her daughter Helen, who lived next door, would stop by to give Angela a hand.

Bill's young life was brightened by occasional summer trips to the Crystal Beach amusement park; Uncle Hugh, Ed's brother, also taught Bill how to golf But the real focus of the family's entertainment was the South Lockport Fire Hall, where Ed was a charter member. Ed, Bill, and Jim passed their summers marching in the fire company's drum corps at countless firefighters' parades and field days. On Saturday evenings Angela would sit in the family car and watch with pride as her husband and two boys marched to patriotic songs with volunteers from neighboring fire companies...

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsvii
Introductionxi
Dawn1
Part IGrowing Up
1The Boy Next Door7
2Real World36
3"A Hundred Tim McVeighs"49
4War Hero81
Part IIAdrift
5Nothingness95
6Kindred Spirits117
7"Won't Be Back Forever"159
8Ready to Kill205
Part IIIBomber
9Ground Zero223
10Body Count233
11"Timmy's All Over CNN"247
12Indicted281
Part IVInfamy
13"Oh, My God, He Did It"307
14Murderers' Row355
Dusk384
Appendix A389
Appendix B398
Source Notes403
Index417

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American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
jmcclain19 on LibraryThing 3 days ago
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.
brianinbuffalo on LibraryThing 3 days ago
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."
of-course More than 1 year ago
Great insight into how military training breaks down the human element and why there is a need for re-humanizing returning veterans.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The authors of this book (obviously) looked very long and hard to odtain the information portrayed within its pages. They didn't only interview Tim's freinds, family and co-workers but actually had the oportunity to conduct more than a few interviews with Timothy McVeigh himself (some lasting several hours). The story shows a riveting portrail of Timothy McVeigh's life, from birth, up until the devastating disaster witch took place in Oklahoma city that April morning. The views in the book are never hypocritical and take time to tell both sides of the story, from the victims and their loved ones to Tim and his loved ones. I find it intrieging at how closely the authours depicted Timothy McVeigh's life story bit by bit, and in a sence capured his mindset on the pages. They are able to justify his views on the government and their unjustified ways while they show us the humane side to his inhumane actions. I wonder what Tim would have thought about 9/11, only months after his exicution. I was only 10 when the bombing acually happened, but this book helped me to better understand the incidents that took place and better understand the mentality behind such actions as these. Eventhough they are never truly justifiable the book shows that the men behind some of the terrorist actions were actually very knowledgable and inteligent people (ie. Ted Kaczynski was once being a college professor). I guess I'll conclude by saying that I found it very hard to put this book down, and that I even found the parts that draged on intruiging. even if you are not interested in events or topics such as this I think it will still be a very good read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Before I read American Terrorist, I thought Timothy McVeigh was a man who was just looking out for the American people, but if so, how could he blow up his own people? But wait, Doesn't are Government do the same thing every day? This is what Timothy McVeigh was trying to tell everyone. By bombing the Murrah Building he was showing people what are government does everyday. I don't agree with what he did, but I agree on why he did it. By reading this book, you begin to realize that the so-called monster, Timothy McVeigh is actually a person. Now you can get the whole picture of the bombing, and read about what really happened, and what kind of a person Tim really was, and not what the media portrayed him as.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Through this book, you learn that McVeigh was a very sensitive and fragile minded person. It's interesting that McVeigh is always looking for someone to talk to, to have a common bond with someone. Many of us who are in our mid 20's could even identify with him, I did, to a certain point in the book. The book shows you the steps that lead McVeigh to become what he became. It's like the story of the Titanic sinking. AND..now that I've finished reading this book (which I borrowed from the library) I can tell you that Timothy McVeigh won. Justice wasn't done. He had a military mindset when he planned to bomb the Murrah Building. He didn't mind dying, if need be. You'll see that he wanted the death penalty- so now many people can read his story while he is dead, and look at him as some sort of legend. For the most part, this book is a quick read and the author spares you no details. There are parts of the book that drag, but don't worry, it won't last that long. *The letter from the Unabomber is interesting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am 22 years old and i read this book because at the time of execution, it caught my attention. I was only 16 when he bombed Federal Building so i don't recall hearing anything about it until recently and it caught my attention. As i read the book i agreed with many things Timothy Mc Veigh said of the goverment and i do not condone what he did in any way , shape or form. But i have to agree with many of the others in that he was a very likable guy, i can see myself holding a conversation with someone like him if i were to meet him on the street. I think this book touched on many points the the public were not aware of. He wasn't a monster he was a human being who made a choice (it being a very inhumane choice) and he was punished for it. I don't feel the goverment had the right to take the life of Timothy Mc Veigh its some what of a contradiction to me. But for anyone who sees him as the Oklahoma City Bomber pick up the book and learn about Timothy Mc Veigh... My heart goes out to all the victims and their family's.. Lou Michel And Dan Herbeck deserve imense amounts of congratulations for their hard work and deidcation.(I can't imagine what they went through in putting this together)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Authors offer an interesting perspective that delves into the mind of one of the nation's most horrific murderers. McVeigh may not have been as crazy as the media portrayed; In fact his act was well calculated. The U.S. is involved in many military acts where innocent civilians are killed, and written off as causalties of a greater cause. The act may not be justified, but it still makes you ponder what was going on in this man's mind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book twice so far and I am about to start again tonight. Perhaps I am looking for clarity of mind or hidden meanings. A lot of what McVeigh said makes perfect logical sense, but why would Jones be so damn adamant that others were involved? I think that as years go by we will find that others were in fact involved. It is disturbing that we as a nation allow the death penalty. We needed him alive to come to a definitive conclusion of the OK bombing saga. The FBI screwed up. The reason I feel they came out, at the last minute,is because perhaps they were worried McVeigh would spill more of the beans thus get a re-trial. But by the FBI stepping forward they were able to instill damage control. Beat him to the punch so to speak. It is no secret that govt. officials were notified before the bombing, but chose at their disgression to do nothing. It has been said that most of the govt. officials stayed home the day of the bombing because they were warned that something could/would happen in light of the Waco anniversary thus only eight convictions on federal level. There was alot hidden in this book. I recommend reading a couple of times. I also wonder why McVeigh did not receive counseling before he separated from Army back out into civillian world. In my humble opinion, the Army should be held accountable as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As I read this book, I couldn't help but wonder if he is just about to become a martyr for the factions growing throughout the U.S. Is he the first and will his actions and this book be a wake-up call to both America and the factions? He did this because of the ban on assault rifles and the beginnings of the end of gun ownership in America. Read this book no matter your opinion of guns, WACO, or even Timothy McVeigh and understand some of why this happened. Much of the book is fiction but the general feel can be obtained from reading between the lines. Also be aware that he only did what the military helped show him how to be. He loved his guns and he loved his country. He hated taxes and hated government brutality. He pushed the bully at the expense of innocent children. There is no good reason for what he did and my heart goes out to all those families who have lost loved ones to this war.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I very much agree with what everyone below has said about the book. It was very enlightening and sad because Tim McVeigh struck me as a very likable but lonely guy. I believed what he wrote (claming sole responsibility for the bombing) until I picked up the book his former attorney, Stephen Jones. I was shocked right from the beginning. In the preface, there was a letter that directly contradicted what Tim McVeigh had said in 'American Terrorist'. The letter was handwritten, signed and initialed by Tim (initials were next to every paragraph), authorizing Mr. Jones to leak info to the New York Times, which got me thinking about all the other claims Mr. McVeigh said -- if that one statement was a lie, how much else was too? Like, why would someone who is as smart as he is (he is just shy of genius level IQ) use a car that almost wouldn't start as a get away car? Why use your real name at all? In 'American Terroist', people characterized Tim and Terry¿s relationship as Tim idolizing Terry, so why would the ¿follower¿ then become the ¿boss¿? As I continued reading 'Others Unknown', it became very clear that Tim, for whatever reason, lied throughout the 'American Terrorist' book. Mr. Jones contends and uses many examples, to say, that while Tim may have been involved, he was but a bit player, more likely, just the fall guy. Mr. Jones even went so far with Tim as to ask him why no one has come forward to claim the $2 million dollars that was being offered for any info on the bombing. Surely, several people who had ¿seen¿ Tim would come clamoring for the money. No one did. Why? Because it wasn¿t (as Mr. Jones contends) Tim McVeigh whom they had seen ¿ he was not the bomber. I strongly recommend reading both books, but by far, Mr. Jones was much more convincing in his argument of whom really bombed the Murrah Building, while 'American Terroist' helps you understand the man Timothy McVeigh is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Monster. Now, in America, the name McVeigh is almost synonymous with monster, evil, inhuman. But, upon reading this book, you will discover that is not necessarily so. It is an excellent book. Reading it will not make you condone this horrible thing. Nothing could ever do that. It will, however, help you understand the mind of the man called America's worst serial killer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book, an unbiased review of Tim McVeigh's life, is outstanding!!! But, if you need to come away from this book with the view of Tim McVeigh as a highly disturbed, demonic psychopath, don't buy it! You won't find closue or peace in the pages of AMERICAN TERRORIST. Ever since the bombing, Americans have been looking for the monster in Tim McVeigh. Was his lonely childhood the root of his evil? The divorce of his parents? His inability to form relationships with women? Or his failure to make the Green Berets in his beloved Army? No! In this book McVeigh explains why he detonated his truck bomb killing 168 people. Simply enough, he hated the government, wanted revenge for the botched FBI and ATF raids on Ruby Ridge and WACO, and wanted to 'wake Americans up.' Americans celebrate our Founding Fathers who, like McVeigh, where revolutionary ideologues. Just because McVeigh's ideology conflicts with that of most Americans, doesn't make him a psychopath. To the contrary, he comes across as a chillingly likeable guy. So, if your looking for your own peace or for some inner turmoil in McVeigh that might possibly explain the Oklahoma City bombing, you might want to keep looking.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Extremely well-written and enlightening book. I'm so sorry for the victims and families of the OK tragedy -- but as a result of reading this book, I like Timothy McVeigh. God Bless Timothy and all involved. Thank you, Lou and Dan, for an outstanding book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Don't let the publicity about this book prevent you from reading the account of the Oklahoma City Bomber. Straight from the mouth of the mass murder, you learn about the man and his perception of of the federal government leading to his truck bomb. McVeigh tells his purpose for the bombing in great detail, but just as with the illogical reasoning behind the Charles Manson murders, it is beyond all reason to think the bombing would result in the reaction McVeigh desired.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was incredible. I hated having to go to bed, because I wanted to know what happened next. McVeigh didn't want a book just about the bombing, so he granted access to his life to the two authors to write a whole book about his life. Seeing his background, his parents, childhood friends, and a before-and-after view of everyone he knew was an education in itself. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about McVeigh, or just want's to read an excellent non-fiction title. Very informative to say the least. I feel at a loss of words.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It would be a disservice to yourself to not read this book. We need to know the full truth, and this book provides it. I am from Oklahoma and experienced the horror and tragedy of the bombing first hand. We struggled to understand this unfathomable horror will little success. Some even think they will find solace in witnessing his death. But after reading this excellently written, forthright book, I've found that education is the only way to come to grips with this vicious act. The best way to find closure and understanding is to know the why and the how. It's better not to allow any part of this story to remain a mystery. We cannot allow this man to become a myth, and this book will insure that won't ever happen. Reading this book will not make you a supporter of Timothy McVeigh. That is not the intention of this story. So don't be afraid to read it, it's your right to know.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am from Oklahoma City. I lost 5 friends to the bombing, including a neighboorhood child. Many people are against this book. I read it, and it was very well written. Some say this book is 'not right'. Despite everything, it helped me understand Timothy McVeigh as a person. No words will ever change what he did, but this helped me to better understand. To the 168 lives he took and the countless number of lives he changed, I send my love and prayers. On May 16, 2001. The final chapter in his life will be over, and those of us effected by his horrible act will go on living our lives. God Bless!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down. I was in the US Army infantry at the same time as Tim. This book really brought out who Tim McVeigh is and why he did what he did. The authors even had a letter from Ted Kaczynski about Tim! If you are interested in why and who attacked the Murrah building this book is a must read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Instead of government-inspired fantasies which conveniently (and perpetually) shift the blame to New World Order puppets, how about a little truth for once? What about all the independent eyewitness reports regarding a Middle Eastern being with McVeigh? What about the TWO independent explosions recorded by seismographs? How about the damage to the Federal building, which couldn't possibly have been caused by an external truck bomb? And what about the 12 tapes the Feds are unwilling to release? C'mon people, wake up!!