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Ruby Ridge
Jess Walter
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Ruby Ridge

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  271 ratings  ·  36 reviews
On the last hot day of summer in 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 W...more
ebook, 416 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Harper (first published 1995)
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(showing 1-30 of 657)
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This is one of those crazier-than-fiction-ever-could-be type stories. Ruby Ridge, Idaho, was the location of a 1992 shoot-out between the government and the bat-shit crazy Weaver family who had holed up in the Idaho mountains out of a paranoid fear that the government was out to get them… a fear which then, much like fiction, became a self-fulfilling prophecy, because the government did eventually have to come after them. Although the patriarch of the family, Randy Weaver, had only committed two...more
Michelle Wildgen (Executive Editor, Tin House Magazine): Jess Walter’s Ruby Ridge: The Truth and Tragedy of the Randy Weaver Family, originally titled Every Knee Shall Bow. I am often fascinated by writing about crime, but good God, the actual writing can be so terrible sometimes. So I was thrilled when I saw that among the list of past works for the wonderful writer Jess Walter was a book on the infamous 1992 Ruby Ridge standoff with Randy Weaver. That standoff, which resulted in the shooting o...more
I started reading this book for two reasons: (1) I heard about the Around the USA in 52 Books challenge, thought it sounded fun, and this book was a great way to pick up Idaho. And (2) I've loved the 2 novels I've read by Jess Walter and wondered about his non-fiction. I knew about Ruby Ridge in a super general way and had a sense that it involved the FBI accidentally killing some religious extremist neo-Nazis.

This isn't exactly what happened, as Walter does an incredible job showing in his book...more
Dec 25, 2007 Thee_ron_clark rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of true stories, conspiracy theorists, etc.
Ruby Ridge was both a tragic event and a look at what government agencies might attempt to get past the eyes of Joe Public if given the chance. This novel follows the Weaver family from their start as a family to their becoming white separatists to the eventual shooting of two members of the family and a family friend by government agents to the long legal proceedings that followed. I found myself horrified at the actions of government agencies in this book and nearly brought to tears by some of...more
Jill Crosby
VERY well-written. I was afraid Jess Walter was going to "Choose" one side or another in the Ruby Ridge stand-off, and spend 400 pages villifing the other side. My fears were unfounded, however, as he took great care to present both sides of this "Only in America" tragedy. Essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the whole birth of "homeland security" issues and the fringe elements of our society that believe only in the authority of a Biblical God whom they alone can interpret. Hard t...more
I remember the news coverage of the Ruby Ridge Massacre. Everyone assumed it was another Waco situation and did not question the government's intentions. Jess Walter was a journalist who decided to interview everyone involved in the massacre, as well as friends and relatives of the Weaver family. What resulted was a portrait of a family that had racist, ultra-conservative religious beliefs, but ultimately wanted to live alone in the woods where their beliefs would not get them in trouble. Unfort...more
Erik Graff
Jun 19, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Americans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
Picked this one up at the Elgin public library during what appears to have become an annual stay-over at my now 92-year-old dad's house in East Dundee, Illinois. If you're ever in that town, check it out. It's one of the most clement libraries I've ever encountered. Not only does it have an organized bookstore, it also has a cafe and outdoor seating--all overlooking the Fox River.

I recall the Randy Weaver case vaguely from when it was in tne news in the early nineties and, later, in reference to...more
Andy Doyle
This is a book that will break your heart.

"Ruby Ridge" is the true story of one family versus the United States Government. The Weaver family wanted to be left alone and left to live in a cabin in the mountains. The Government wanted Randy Weaver to act as a snitch against the Aryan Nation. The conflict between the two would lead to an 11 day standoff and the deaths of a US Marshal, a young boy, and a mother.

The topic is very complicated, but the book is very easy to read. Mr. Walter also does...more
Scotty Cameron
Well, after much delay in my reading due to a concussion, I've finished. And I must say, Jess Walter really nailed it with this one.

Creative non-fiction is a concept I've always struggled to understand. How can it be creative if it all just boils down to spewing facts? Now I know. In this book, Walter shows a dual mastery of the nuances of journalistic writing as well as the story-weaving of fiction writing. With this, he blends the genres to deliver a craftfully written story with the accuracy...more
This was a interesting book as the events that happened at Ruby Ridge were quite fuzzy, this book gives the reader a broader understanding of were the government and Randy Weaver were comming from. This book will show you what happens when people goto different extremes in their own view of the government and religion. this book portrays a deeper understanding from an investigative reporter that talks too lots of people to bring some sort of understanding to the mass confusion caused by the gove...more
Dianna Winget
Even after twenty years there are many unanswered questions about what really took place in the North Idaho standoff between the Randy Weaver family and federal officials. This book seems to be one of the most balanced and thorough accounts of the tragic events that unfolded on the remote mountain in 1992, ultimately leaving a young boy, a mother, and a federal agent dead. Intriguing, heartrending, and very insightful, this book does a great job showing what can happen when extreme religious bel...more
Ellyn Oaksmith
Jess Walters is one heck of a good writer. Just know that. And this book is fun to read -- if you're in the right mood. The problem was that I wasn't. Jess's other book, Beautiful Ruins, which led me to this one, is a very different animal so I'm hardly an unbiased reader on this one. His characters are gripping and it's compelling, I was just all done with this kind of book. So that's why I quit reading but I will certainly read more of this author. He's the best kind of writer -- tough, compel...more
In the first half I was amazed by the Weavers' hate driven religious views. In the second half I was even more amazed by Government's mistakes, especially the FBI. The FBI was held in contempt and fined by by the trial judge. The Government ended up paying the Weavers $3.1 million for the killings of Sammy and Vickie Weaver. No one was held accountable for U. S. Marshall Degan's killing. Many millions of our dollars were spent on this case, 3 people were killed...and for what?
This book really goes into great deal about what happened over 20 years ago, with the Randy Weaver family on Ruby Ridge, in Idaho. I was particularly interested in this story, as he and his family lived in Cedar Falls, and he worked at John Deere. It was just so tragic, that he son was shot in the back, and his wife was shot in the head, all because his family didn't want him to come to trial over an undercover sting of selling a sawed off shot gun to a federal marshal.
B.N. Toler
Read this over twelve years ago and it still gives me chills when I think about it. This family may have had some different views, but what happened to them is unimaginable. I heard somewhere that the guy who did the Oklahoma City bombing was trying to shed light on what happened on Ruby Ridge. A woman getting shot in the face while holding an was crazy. I was very young when I read this and it is still one of the most memorable books I have ever read.
Nick Black
Eh, some of the very worst pandering to the wacko-libertarian fringe to emerge in the highly profitable period following Waco -- the big publishing houses got ahold of the market and, within a decade, Loompanics Unlimited was out of business. So it goes. Anyway, the Weaver story is a sad saga, but it certainly didn't deserve nearly 500 pages of fulmination dressed up as journalism.
This event took place when I still lived in Idaho but, as a college student, I just didn't pay much attention. I remember when the trial took place and all the horrible evidence came out. This is a very good read. Horrible decision making on all sides of this case.
I have loved all of Jess' books, most of which I have read. This one, though, is nonfiction. Yet, it was just as beautifully written, with sparks of humor, and more compelling than any of his novels. What a sad, tragic story surrounded in studipity by just about everyone, even mariginally involved, in this tale. I highly recommended it.
Jim Golden
An excellent account of the shootout and standoff at Ruby Ridge that's all the more powerful because Jess Walter plays it straight down the middle, neither out to get the government nor out to belittle Randy Weaver. What we get instead is a sober laying out of the facts through great use of detail and a strong narrative.
Charlotte Wallace
Nov 23, 2013 Charlotte Wallace rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I thought I understood this story but after reading this book I certainly question how our government dealt with the situation. On both sides people lost, and the sad commentary is that no one won, families were destroyed, and nothing was really resolved because the answers are still not complete.
Excellent book. Complex look at the ways conspiracies, religion, white supremacy, rural NW living, and government in/competence comes together. I'd recommend this to anyone interested in points of intersection and conflict between civil liberties and public safety.
Working my way through everything that I can find written by Walter. Up until now it has all been novels, so this was a big departure. It was very interesting, nonetheless. Thoroughly reported, and -- in my opinion -- very balanced. I am glad I read it.
I rated a 4 because of my overall interest in this event. I didn't watch much TV or read papers during the years all my children were born. This just blew me away. Shocking that things could get so twisted on both sides. Awful to think about.
I have been obsessed with Ruby Ridge since I was in the fifth grade when NBC aired a made-for-tv movie on the fiasco. This book was far better than NBC's take on it, and it only furthered my obsession with RR.
very fascinating account of the Weaver family and the tragedy at Ruby Ridge, and subsequent events. What a tragic tale......but so well researched, and interesting to read.
Marcus Ward
Twenty years later and this is the first full length account I have read. It's long but quick without skipping around. It's a good mix of facts and human elements.
Gripping chronicle of not just the events at Ruby Ridge but also the political and cultural climate that brought the storm together. Hard to put down.
David Lebron
I thought it was a well balanced account of what really happened at Ruby Ridge. It is an eye opener.
Very interesting but the end is so boring I stopped reading it!
Overall, a sad story with enough blame to go around.
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Jess Walter is the author of five novels and one nonfiction book. His work has been translated into more than 20 languages and his essays, short fiction, criticism and journalism have been widely published, in Details, Playboy, Newsweek, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe among many others.

Walter also writes screenplays and was the co-author of Christopher Darden’s 1996 b...more
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