Books on Related Topics

I review books directly about Waco on another page. However, Waco did not occur in a vacuum. There are a number of other topics that intersect with Waco: cults, gun rights, Ruby Ridge, the militia movement, and many others.

A * denotes a book I have not read from cover to cover, but have perused enough to make some comments.

Anderson, Jack. Inside the NRA. * Columnist Anderson takes aim at the National Rifle Association and the right to bear arms. Judging from the chapter on Ruby Ridge and Waco, which is riddled with errors and full of shallow thinking, the book isn't worth much. One of his main themes is to blame the NRA for provoking violence like Oklahoma City with heated rhetoric about "jack-booted thugs," yet Anderson's own prose is full of intemperate, combative language!
Barker, Eileen. The Making of a Moonie. * This is a very perceptive, in-depth study of the initial Moonie recruitment process. The Unification Church in England gave her extensive access to their members and records for her study. She shows that the Moonies have not discovered incredibly effective "brainwashing" techniques: the vast majority of people approached by them do not become members, and even a great majority of joiners soon leave.
Bock, Alan W. Ambush at Ruby Ridge. This is a very good book on Ruby Ridge- its main disadvantage is that its competition is Every Knee Shall Bow, which is the definitive work on Ruby Ridge. The author is a libertarian, but the actual facts fit his views so nicely that he is able to present a pretty fair account.
Bromley, David and Anson Shupe. Strange Gods. Bromley and Shupe wrote extensively on the battle between the anti-cult movement and their targets. This book debunks the arguments of the anti-cult movement quite well.
Galanter, Mark. Cults. * In the original edition, psychologist Galanter gives a very nuanced portrayal of cults, and their potential for good and ill. Accepted groups like Alcoholics Anonymous are discussed as cults alongside groups like the Moonies and the Divine Light Mission. However, I've had a chance to look at the revised edition, which adds chapters on Waco, Aum Shinrikyo, Heaven's Gate, and other cults that he knows only through news reports. This new material is more stridently anti-cult, and I can also say that the Waco chapter is shot through with inaccuracies.
Macdonald, Andrew. The Turner Diaries. Is Diaries really as bad as the media says? It's worse. Written by neo-Nazi Dr. William Pierce under a pseudonym, it tells how a white-supremacist Organization rises from hard-pressed underground movement to nuclear-armed masters of the world, genocidally cleansing the Earth of all non-whites.
Patrick, Ted with Tom Dulack. Let Our Children Go! Ted Patrick was the first deprogrammer. His autobiography shows the crudeness of his understanding of cults. Worthy of note are the incidents where the police turn a blind eye to his activities- if cultists can't always rely on law enforcement to protect them, why shouldn't they arm themselves?
Sargant, William. Battle for the Mind. * This book is credited with being the first to link "brainwashing" to religion, not just communists. However, the author was worried not about cults, but "fundamentalists." In particular, he was alarmed by the success of a minister named Billy Graham. He saw Billy Graham as an apocalyptic megalomaniac who believed he had a divine mission to preach against communism.
Walter, Jess. Every Knee Shall Bow. * Walter's book stands as the essential work on Ruby Ridge. He interviewed people from both sides, and allows them to present their own perspectives, only sparingly interjecting his own opinions.
White, Ellen G. The Great Controversy. * Knowing the importance of this work to understanding the Branch Davidian perspective, I considered it a must-read, but I have to confess that I found her anti-Catholic hangups wearying, and finally bogged down in the middle of the Reformation. I've flipped through the later chapters that outline her endtime prophecies, but have not yet fulfilled my resolve to finish it.


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