One of Ours: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing

by Richard A. Serrano
Reviewed date: 2007 Sep 10
321 pages
cover art

One of Ours is a decent but flawed look at Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing. Decent, because Serrano presents the facts, gives the history of McVeigh's life, and shows the influences that lead to the bombing plot. Serrano shows how McVeigh's experiences during and after the Gulf War lead him to distrust the US government.

The actions of the FBI and ATF in the Ruby Ridge incident and at Waco were the final straw. McVeigh saw those incidents as massacres. Because he had surrounded himself with like-minded antigovernment radicals, McVeigh thought the general public was as outraged as himself. By bombing the Oklahoma City federal building, McVeigh hoped to spark a revolution. In fact, the public response was revulsion and horror.

But One of Ours is flawed, because Serrano does a poor job of putting McVeigh into context. Serrano gives the dates, times, the events, and the people who McVeigh interacted with. But he doesn't explain the big picture of the militant radical right in America. This community of militias and antigovernment loonies provided McVeigh with the support network he needed. They fed his appetite for conspiracy, reinforced his antigovernment views, and ultimately provided him with a co-conspirator: Terry Nichols. But by Serrano's account, you would hardly know this loose network of radical right militants existed. Serrano presents McVeigh's friends as individuals, devoid of connections.

One of Ours is also marred by Serrano's anti-gun feelings, which are out of place. A history book with an agenda loses much of its credibility.

Still, it's a valuable book. Serrano provides the facts. I suggest that if you read One of Ours, you also read other books about McVeigh, to give you a more comprehensive picture.

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