American Terrorist paints a fascinating picture of Timothy McVeigh, a former Gulf War veteran who after witnessing the horror of Waco decided to enact revenge against the federal government by blowing up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Knowing only the basic facts surrounding this case, I thought the two authors did an excellent job in pinning down both the motive and the timeline surrounding this mass murder. One thing that I always wondered is why he chose Oklahoma City as the target instead of Washington DC or New York City -- a question that is answered in great detail. Using interviews conducted in federal prison with McVeigh, it was interesting to read that he had absolutely no remorse for what he did, drawing a parallel between his actions and the Atomic bombs used against Hiroshima and Nagasaki; attacks that killed many but also saved lives. Even more fascinating was the chapters dealing with McVeigh's trial and how his court-appointed lawyers used the opportunity more as a PR stunt rather than defending their client. In my opinion, if McVeigh wanted to use the necessity defence, however flawed it may have been, his team should have followed his instructions. Although more than twenty years has passed since this tragedy, reading the book made me feel like it was yesterday.
This book is only about half true IMO and is the story McVeigh wanted to paint. That's not to fault their authors, they were the only ones authorized to write the book by McVeigh to tell his story (until David Paul Hammer got the same authority after McVeigh was sent to Terre Haute federal death-row prison).
Readers would be advised to read this and Hammer's book as the truth probably lies somewhere in between. Anyway, McVeigh wasn't the only person (besides Terry Nichols) involved to make the OKC bombing a reality...
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