"Reavis brings to the task an impressive array of official documents and interviews, including the complete transcripts of all the FBI's negations with the Branch Davidians. . . . That he, a skeptical journalist who never quite leaves his secularist amazement aside, could come to comprehend David Koresh is surely testimony to the possibility that had FBI agents been encouraged to do so, they might similarly have come to understand the 'Bible Babble' they merely dismissed."—Review of Politics
"Reavis has sifted the mass of available evidence . . . to create a more damning portrait of official hubris, incompetence and deceit."—The New York Times Book Review
This is the story the daily press didn’t give us. It may be the definitive book about what happened at Mt. Carmel, near Waco, Texas, examined from both sides—the Bureau of Alcohol and Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and the FBI on one hand, and David Koresh and his followers on the other.
Dick J. Reavis contends that the government had little reason to investigate Koresh and even less to raid the compound at Mt. Carmel. The government lied to the public about most of what happened—about who fired the first shots, about drug allegations, about child abuse. The FBI was duplicitous and negligent in gassing Mt. Carmel-and that alone could have started the fire that killed seventy-six people.
Drawing on interviews with survivors of Koresh’s movement (which dates back to 1935), as well as from esoteric religious tracts and audiotapes, and previously undisclosed government documents, Reavis uncovers the real story of the burning at Waco, including the trial that followed. The author quotes from Koresh himself to create an extraordinary portrait of a movement, an assault, and an avoidable tragedy.
Dick J. Reavis was a 1990 Nieman Fellow in Journalism. He has been a Senior Editor of Texas Monthly, a reporter for the Dallas Observer, and a business correspondent for the San Antonio Light, and has written for numerous publications. He is the author of several books, including Conversations with Moctezuma and Fodor's Texas.
6 x 9, 320 pages, 3 maps