From the publisher: A news-making account of the war between David Koresh’s Branch Davidians and the FBI, and how their standoff launched today’s militias.
I don’t know why two books are being published in January 2023 on the standoff that took place in Waco, Texas in 1993, but they are and I read them both.
I found Waco Rising by Kevin Cook to be the more engaging, and the more frightening, of the two. Waco by Jeff Guinn is good but not great. Waco seems exhaustively researched; it is very detailed and at times repetitive. Waco Rising, on the other hand, included information I’d never heard or read before. For example, Guinn talks about the Branch Davidian dogs that were shot by agents, but Cook talks about the eleven tiny puppies that were inside, not outside in a pen, the chickens, and the “hunger-mad goose” penned up with the dead dogs. Details like these really brought the setting to life.
Cook’s retelling of what happened in at the Branch Davidian compound in the spring of 1993 moves at a much brisker pace, and without as much repetition (although there is still repetition – a good editor could have tightened up both of these books). Cook’s book is much more critical of the decisions made by the ATF and especially the FBI. Cook draws a direct line between Waco to Oklahoma City to Alex Jones to January 6th. FBI negotiator Gary Noesner calls Waco “a self-inflicted wound for the FBI. It contributed to a broad antigovernment sentiment that’s out there today.” (p. 157 of the advance reader copy)
If you want to know more about the standoff between government agents and the Branch Davidians, and how the event is affecting the United States today, you may find either or both of these books worth reading.
I read advance reader copies of Waco and Waco Rising from Netgalley.
Waco and Waco Rising are available for checkout from the Galesburg Public Library.