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The Suspect: An Olympic Bombing, the FBI, the Media, and Richard Jewell, the Man Caught in the Middle

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  436 ratings  ·  66 reviews
A contributing source for the Warner Bros.’ film Richard Jewell starring Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, Olivia Wilde and Paul Walter Hauser!

"Meticulously reported, bracingly written, full of memorable and bizarre characters, the book casts a wary eye on the worlds of law enforcement and journalism, and their multiple failures in this tale. It’s a story with no
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published November 12th 2019 by Harry N. Abrams (first published November 5th 2019)
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Average rating 4.37  · 
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Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Suspect: An Olympic Bombing, the FBI, the Media, and Richard Jewell, the Man Caught in the Middle is a thoroughly researched book about the bombing at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. It covers the various parties involved, including Richard Jewell, the original primary suspect, as well as members of the FBI, the media, Richard’s family and friends, the legal teams involved, and eventually, the actual bomber.

On July 27, 1996, Jewell was working at the Olympics, specifically at a post in
Valerity (Val)
This is a thoroughly researched book about the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the bombing that happened. It also goes into the suspicion of Richard Jewell and all of the media surrounding the whole thing. There were reasons for them to look at Jewell, but he was just a little too convenient a patsy. I liked the look at some of the media’s role in the story, one writer in particular. This book was even better than I expected, and refreshed my memory on what happened with the case. It also has updates ...more
Katie B
There were certainly many good moments that came out of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta such as Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic Cauldron during the Opening Ceremonies and Kerri Strug competing on an injured ankle and securing a gold medal for the U.S. women's gymnastics team. However, tragedy also struck after a pipe bomb attack in Centennial Park killed one person, Alice Hawthorne, and injured 111 people. A cameraman also died when he suffered a fatal heart attack while running to the ...more
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m the person who sees a movie trailer, thinks it looks great and then searches if it’s a book. Indeed, this book was made into a movie. So I bypass movie and go straight to the book. This was fascinating. An entirely new nonfiction subject for me. It was never boring, it was intense and the flow was steady, never lagging.
Donna Hines
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rush to judgement?
Guilty before being proven innocent?
A man's entire career and life was literally extinguished based on one charge.
Ultimately, in the end that may have even lead to his untimely death from a sudden heart attack at the young age of 44 years of age.
I do hope in the future this case is a warning to all to stop the public trials and social media outcries and allow due process.
This is the an important reminder that everyone deserves their day in court and everyone deserves to have a
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
The story of Richard Jewell was just a little bit before my time - but after reading this book, I feel like I lived through it. Soon to be the subject of a major motion picture, Richard Jewell was a bit of a down-and-out wannabe police officer, a portly man from North Georgia who loved police work, the authority of the badge, and “fighting crime” more than anything. He got jobs here and there in the field, working as a lowly jailor and deputy officer for Habersham County, GA and as a security ...more
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Kathy Scruggs & Don Johnson seem to deserve a special place in hell, for what they did to the Jewell Family. Their lives seem to take the Karma led path to "all messed up".

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has been acting like a chicken with it's head cut off, TRYING to protect Scruggs (not so good) name. So rich.

An excellent book, filled with details. A deep dive after watching the Clint Eastwood film.
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Went back to watch my family vacation video from hours before the attack:
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
What the FBI and the media did to Richard Jewell's life is literally criminal. The FBI determined that he fit the profile - that they created - of a bomber. They then set out to prove that their hypothesis was a fact. Ignoring the basic rule of investigating . . . follow the leads and the evidence to wherever they take you. The media jumped all over the FBI theory and literally hounded Jewell into hiding along with his mother. Not only does this book - very well researched - show how ...more
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The bombing at Centennial Park during the 1996 Olympics was a case that involved almost a decade to solve. The author has done a magnificent job in dissecting all the elements in the story. There are four key actors in the story - an overzealous reporter from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Key FBI investigator at the early part of the story, Richard Jewell and the actual bomber who did this terror act and a couple of others.

The author describes how Atlanta beat out Athens for the
Anna Machan
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic read

Full disclosure, I am from Atlanta and can remember a lot of this but I was only 12 so I couldn’t have known it all. This book was a great read and I learned so much about my city and the events around the Centennial Olympic bombing. I had a hard time putting this book down. Kudos to Mr. Alexander and Mr. Salwen. Best book I’ve read all year (and I’ve read quite a few).
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 20-word-reviews
Really interesting account of the Atlanta Olympic bombing, focusing on law enforcement's initial jump to a conclusion that was wrong.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic research and writing!
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you liked the movie (or were as moved by it as I was!) I strongly recommend this book, which is a deep dive that goes more into the history of ATL, the players, and even the Olympics. I love learning more context and history around those things “I thought I knew.” Plus it’s interesting to see how our culture and society have evolved, even in two short decades.
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was thoroughly researched and well written. This story could happen to anyone. It reminds us to get the facts first before destroying a reputation just to get a story out. May you Rest In Peace Mr. Jewell.
Excellent book.

Very well researched, and the points were made succinctly without injecting unnecessary details or fluff.

I also admire the last bit of the book, with the authors saying that maybe this will encourage the authorities to be more diligent in preventing leaks, and the press to be more responsible and accountable to the lives it's capable of ruining just to get a good story. It was heartfelt and sweet.

It's also not going to happen because the media/press has its head so far up its own
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was great! Even though I’m from Atlanta and knew a lot about the bombing already, I enjoyed learning about the event and surrounding characters in more detail. This book also offers an interesting peak into federal criminal investigations.
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Anyone over the age of 35 likely remembers the 96 Centennial Park bombing and media circus that erupted when Richard Jewell was named as a hero then suspect.
In the early days of the internet and the 24/7 news cycle, this story captivated the world. The authors of The Suspect provide a detailed examination of the facts, the players, the egos, and the ethical implications that arose. This book is utterly absorbing and should be required reading for members of law enforcement and journalists.
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
After seeing the Clint Eastwood movie over the Christmas break with family, I decided to go right to Barnes and Noble for this book after getting home. I am glad I did. I lived through the 1996 Olympics here in Atlanta and found this a well-rounded summation of how the Olympics came to be here and of how the hapless Richard Jewell, his life and reputation, came to be sacrificed to the games. Kent Alexander, the U.S. District Attorney for Georgia's northern district at the time of the games, and ...more
Mark Gandy
I'm sure the 2019 film by Clint Eastwood lifted this book from obscurity to a potentially wider audience - I'm one of those readers who bit, and I'm glad I did.

I had no idea what to expect from this book. I'm saddened to admit that I had mostly forgotten about the details of the 1996 bombing in Atlanta during the centennial Olympics.

The author starts the book with insights as to how the Olympics made their way to Georgia when Athens was the sentimental favorite for the games. "Just let us be
Jordan Larsen
The place, Atlanta, Georgia. The year is 1996. “The City in the Woods” is the host for the Olympic Games. As millions flock to Atlanta and tune-in around the world, all eyes are on Atlanta’s Centennial Park, the epicenter of the games. Despite some of the most elaborate security measures implemented to ensure public safety, the 1996 Olympic Games will be forever remembered as an indelible event marked by terror and tragedy. That’s the premise behind the biography “The Suspect” by Kent Alexander ...more
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“The Suspect” is a comprehensive review of the bombing at the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996, and the subsequent investigation that involved Richard Jewell, who was a security guard at the bombing site who found the bomb. Jewell was initially praised as a hero, until a story in an Atlanta newspaper named him as a suspect in the bombing, and his life would never be the same. The book does a thorough job in detailing the events of the bombing, as well as the hunt for the true bomber after Jewell ...more
Don Inman
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most engrossing books I have read in a long time. Ostensibly it is the story of the bombing of centennial park during the 1996 olympics in Atlanta. But this event takes place at the same time as the birth of CNN and the 24/7 news cycle and examines the effect it has on investigative journalism and criminal investigation. The story of Richard Jewell is the story of John Q. Public,an ordinary person who gets steam rolled by the FBI and The Atlanta Journal Constitution with ...more
Mystic Miraflores
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was a detailed review of momentous events that occurred in the mid-late 1990s. I can barely remember the 1996 Olympics and the tragedy, media circus and extensive manhunt in its aftermath. At that time I had 2 toddlers and a full-time job and had no time to watch the news. Of course, the main focus was on Richard Jewell and I was astonished how the authors got into his mind, emotions and psychology, particularly as Richard is no longer alive. I never knew about Kathy Scruggs and she ...more
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
TERRIFIC! An incredibly researched exploration of the rush to judgement and ultimate destruction of an innocent man's life in the pursuit of a story. The authors' pull no punches style along with their detailed and thorough research reads like a True Crime thriller.

In our fast paced, social media driven lives, the ethical questions raised in this story resonate for both the media and the government. As I read the story, I kept asking myself "if I were the editor, would I run that story?"

What a
Shawn Mcclellan
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really informative book about what really happened at the Olympic bombing in Atlanta in 1996. Shocker (and spoiler)the local and state police well as the GBI ( Georgia Bureau of Investigations) ...had the wrong man from the beginning but tried to force the evidence to fit the man they wanted to convict. Southern justice at its finest.

Great example of how a rush to judgement by the police and the media can destroy a man and his family. At times the book is a little too detailed and goes
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book that does a great job of presenting background information not just on Jewell, but the entire supporting cast of journalists, FBI agents, and Jewell's friends and family without straying far from the main story. Also does a great job painting a picture of Richard Jewell himself, a good-hearted country boy that was flawed like everyone else but just wanted to help people and be the part of a team.

One of my favorite nonfiction releases of the year. Can't help but feel bad for a guy
Justin Matthews
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In my mind this is an example of a perfect book. The writing is clear, full of detail that is interesting and not overwhelming. The narrative incorporates not just Jewell but the 1996 Olympics, how they ended up in Atlanta, how the FBI and various law enforcement agencies worked through CENTBOM, the various characters that played a role and how they got there. I was totally engrossed. (And it was cool to read about places that, as an Atlanta boy, I've been to dozens of times; I once even owned ...more
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, favorites
Simply a fantastic telling of the Olympic bombing in 1996 and how the media's rush to judgment ruined a man's life and legacy. The narration of the audiobook was brilliant and brought the story to life and the pieces unfolded. At the end, you hurt for those who were most affected by the rash decisions made by those in authority and those in the press. It was all about rushing to show the world how quickly we could catch a perpetrator, even if it wasn't the right man. Anyone who is a fan of ...more
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
After seeing the movie, I was curious to know more about the investigation around Richard Jewell. The author definitely fills in all of the blanks, including personal life details of the various news reporters and FBI personnel. Details were withheld or altered in the movie, I assume to simplify the story. The book and story definitely raise awareness and ethical concerns of how quickly it is to jump to a guilty verdict in the court of public opinion, and how tragic it can be for the victim. ...more
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