Waco Rising: David Koresh, the FBI, and the Birth of America’s Modern Militias

Tantor Audio. Jan. 2023. 8:19 hrs. ISBN 9798765062623. $19.99. SOC SCI
Thirty years after the deadly standoff outside of Waco, TX, a community still reels from the repercussions. The Branch Davidians’ suspected child abuse, polygamy, and illegal gun activities attracted the attention of the ATF, and the ensuing 51-day siege ended tragically with the deaths of 76 people. Award-winning author and journalist Cook (The Burning Blue) combines new research from interviews with survivors, officers, and academic specialists and archival information from books, news coverage, and government documents to provide a fresh, provocative assessment of the conflict. This thoughtful examination covers events leading up to the Waco catastrophe, chronological details of the siege, and a discussion of the aftermath. While showing empathy for the Branch Davidians who believed in leader David Koresh’s prophesied apocalypse, Cook presents an evenhanded look at the history, political climate, and personalities that precipitated the disastrous culmination. Narrator Gary Tiedemann gives a personable performance, allowing listeners to absorb the information without overshadowing the humanity of those involved. Though perfectly paced and conversational, Tiedemann often adds a surprisingly light, though not disrespectful, note to this most serious subject.
VERDICT A powerful book that challenges listeners to re-examine the events at Waco and the ramifications of willful misunderstanding, posturing, and aggression.
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