4th out of 13 books — 4 voters
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The Ashes of Waco: An Investigation
Examines the David Koresh movement & events leading to the standoff outside Waco, Texas, as perceived from both sides: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms & the FBI on one hand; Koresh & his followers on the other.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 1st 1998 by Syracuse University Press
(first published July 24th 1995)
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For content, see the review by Erik Graff below; he says very well what I think about the challenges this book presented to my own thinking and biases I held regarding the victims. I rated this a little lower because I don't think it's nearly as well-written as Ruby Ridge by Jess Walter or Oklahoma City by Andrew Gumbel. Although all three situations expose the inter-agency competition, incompetence, duplicity, and deception by federal law enforcement agencies, Reavis faced a particular challeng ...more
Jul 04, 2014 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars · review of another edition
Recommends it for: Americans, especially Adventists
Recommended to Erik by: no one
I picked this up along with another book about the Ruby Ridge murders which had occurred shortly before those at Waco, moving directly from the first to the second. Both involve religious 'extremists' (Christian Identity and Adventists, respectively) and federal agencies (BTFA and FBI), both involve governmentally provoked violence and murder, both involve governmental coverups. Together, they paint a pretty dismal picture. Although I'm prone to dismiss conservative Christians, both books portra ...more
The Ashes of Waco bills itself as an investigation of the government attack on the Branch Davidian settlement outside Waco, i.e., "what the press didn't tell you." There certainly are things in the book that were not reported in the press then, or now, chiefly an examination of the Davidian beliefs, how the government misunderstood those beliefs and how that misunderstanding contributed to the fiery destruction of the settlement. The book is heavy on Davidian theology, complete with lengthy and ...more
Author Dick J. Reavis wrote the The Ashes of Waco because he initially wrote a newspaper article for the Dallas Observer. He wanted to write more but the company wouldn't let him. So, he secured a deal with his agent to write a book about it. The theme of the book is that the government should keep to there own and not bother people of different religious backgrounds unless they are doing something that could harm the nation. The book is descriptive because it tells you first hand and includes i ...more
Although the book was a little confusing with some jumping around and in the end there is still no definitive answer to"whodunit", it was a very good book. I thought it was fairly unbiased and I was surprised to read how much information from the government side is still classified. I definitely learned more in this book than I did when I was following the situation as it was happening.
The Ashes of Waco: An Investigation, by Dick J. Reavis (Simon & Shuster 1995) 364.1523, attracted me because I wished to learn more about David Koresh, the Branch Davidians, and the attack upon them by the ATF. However, the author failed to produce. Try as I might, I could not get interested in the author's narrative. Perhaps I should have been tipped off by the author's dedication: "To Sitting Bull and the Ghost Dance believers." My rating: 1/10. Finished 2/23/11.
Pretty heavy-handed on the whole Davidian scripture business, not so much on motivations (either side), etc. What WERE the Davidians stockpiling weapons (legal weapons, but still---, Why did this bother the government so much, What were the details of the negotiations between the two---los of questions unanswered for me.