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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 - this text focuses on the events at Mt. Carmel, near Waco Texas. 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 drugs allegations, and about the child abuse. The FBI was duplicitous and negligent in gassing Mt. Carmel - and that alone could have started the fire that killed 76 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 story of the burning at Waco, including the trial that followed. The author quotes from Koresh himself to create a portrait of a movement, an assault and an avoidable tragedy.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780815605027
ISBN-10: 0815605021
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 17mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Syracuse University Press
Publisher: Syracuse University Press
Publish Date: 31-May-1998
Country of Publication: United States

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Rushed to press to catch the wave of summer congressional hearings on the Waco debacle, this account by former Texas Monthly senior editor Reavis may raise a few hackles both within the Beltway and beyond. In the course of his reporting, Reavis gained access to a large trove of classified documents: 17,800 pages of transcripts of telephone conversations between government agents and Branch Davidians at Mt. Carmel. These documents, along with government reports, a study of Branch Davidian theology, and interviews with survivors of Waco as well as rivals of Koresh's, lead the author to a surprising conclusion. Contributing to the post-Waco trend charging that we too often scorn religious sects as cults, Reavis writes: "The people who had lived at Mt. Carmel were more akin to the Shakers and to the Oneida community - parts of today's Americana - than to the members of the Charles Manson cult." (Kirkus Reviews)


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