You know you are onto something good when the foreword of the book is written by ex FBI head honcho Louis Freeh, and you would be right. Hunting The American Terrorist is nothing short of a masterpiece written by the masters of the hunt. It is funny the way we remember the names of the perpetrators of evil, yet we do not remember the victims or the people responsible for bringing these purveyors of death and grief to justice. This book does much to unmask the mysteries surrounding two of America’s most feared criminals, and the FBI effort to find justice using techniques that at the time were outside of the normal opperating procedures.
Terry Turchie is a name that we all should recognize (but likely do not), he led the hunt for, and the successful capture of The Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski, he was also in charge of the hunt for the Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph. His co-author Kathleen Puckett was a key player in both of these notorious cases.
This is really two books in one, Terry walks us through the two cases, this includes the mistakes, and wrong forks in the road that were taken. I recently interviewed another author, an ex fighter pilot, and he summed up his job as ‘Hours of boredom interspersed with moments of terror’, in many ways this is an apt description of the hunt for The Unabomber. With virtually no physical evidence other than the destructive aftermath, Terry must track down this madman who has maimed and killed for almost 20 years. Instead of fingerprints and DNA Terry and his team must use psychological approaches.
The second part of the book delves into Kathleen’s involvement both pre and post capture, and in particular the use of profiling as a tool to locate these ‘lone wolf’ homegrown terrorists. Profiling may be a key tool in law enforcement now, but it was classed as Voodoo by many just a few years ago. What I found amazing was how accurate the profiles were on these people.
It is fascinating to see inside the minds of the people trying to see into the minds! We may equate terrorism with Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden, but the lone wolf outcast is every bit as dangerous and deadly, Theodore (Ted) Kaczinski, Eric Rudolf, and Timothy McVeigh may be unconnected personally, but all three share a great deal in common, a deep seated hatred for our society, a mistrust of the government, and social dysfunction.
If you only read one book this year, make it this book. It is well worth the price of admission. Published by History Publishing Company you can get your own copy at fine bookstores everywhere or online through Amazon.