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Publisher's Summary

Commemorating the 25th anniversary of the siege at Waco, and a tie-in to the upcoming Spike TV mini-series, an updated reissue of the critically acclaimed A Place Called Waco by Branch Davidian survivor David Thibodeau.

For the first time ever, a survivor of the Waco massacre tells the inside story of Branch Davidians, David Koresh, and what really happened at the religious compound in Texas.

When he first met the man who called himself David Koresh, David Thibodeau was drumming for a rock band that was going nowhere fast. Intrigued and frustrated with a stalled music career, Thibodeau gradually became a follower and moved to the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. He remained there until April 19, 1993, when the compound was stormed and burnt to the ground after a 51-day standoff.

In this book, Thibodeau explores why so many people came to believe that Koresh was divinely inspired. We meet the men, women, and children of Mt. Carmel. We get inside the day-to-day life of the community. Thibodeau is brutally honest about himself, Koresh, and the other members, and the result is a revelatory look at life inside a cult.

But Waco is just as brutally honest when it comes to dissecting the actions of the United States government. Thibodeau marshals an array of evidence, some of it never previously revealed, and proves conclusively that it was our own government that caused the Waco tragedy, including the fires. The result is a memoir that feels like a thriller, with each moment taking us closer to the eventual inferno.

©1999 David Thibodeau (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Thibodeau, one of only four Branch Davidians to live through the Waco disaster and not be sentenced to jail, has produced a surprisingly balanced and honest account of his time as a Branch Davidian. Neither sensationalist nor defensive, this will make satisfying reading for anyone interested in the April 1993 tragedy." ( Kirkus Review)
"A disquieting portrait of a religious community and its enigmatic leader." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"This book gives a rare glimpse of life at Mount Carmel and an account of how that attack contrasts with the 'official' government version. With the renewed interest in this siege, this book is recommended for public libraries." ( School Library Journal)
"An extraordinary account of one of the most shameful episodes in recent American history. I wish that everyone in the country could read this book." (Howard Zinn)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Breathtaking!

What did you love best about Waco?

This book, while long, is a very informative and comprehensive narrative from one of the survivors...The recent mini series peaked my interest in reading a book from a survivor's account and this book did not disappoint. I actually enjoyed the entire 13 + hours and looked forward to picking up where I left off.

What other book might you compare Waco to and why?

Autobiography.

Which scene was your favorite?

I enjoyed the epilogue, that was read by the author.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The entire book! I have been captivated by this story and was hungry to learn more.

Any additional comments?

Thank you, David Thibodeau!!! Brilliant! Although I still have questions, I really think this narrative captured what life was really like in Waco, despite what the media wants us to think. Bravo!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excuses for a Pedophile

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The author was there and shared his personal experiences, and I don't doubt that he wrote this as he remembered events. However, he seemed to give David Koresh a pass on having sex with underage girls.He even mentioned that one girl- with whom Koresh had sex starting when the girl was TWELVE, and who had his child at FOURTEEN- seemed fine in spite of the statutory rape and adolescent motherhood. How could he possibly know such a thing? And for all the religious freedoms that the author feels were infringed upon by the government, there is no denying that crimes were committed against any underage child who could not legally consent to sexual relations with Koresh. As for the parents giving permission for their daughters to "marry" Koresh, and the married couples agreeing to no longer have sex with one another, but the wives could have sex only with Koresh- umm, and the author says this was NOT a cult? I think he has a wacko hangover.

Any additional comments?

I would love to read an objective account of this story, and am wondering if there is one which accurately tells it.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Tre
  • Fayetteville, NY
  • 05-19-18

incredible!

This is an incredible story and a very well written and narrated one. I enjoyed it very much and encourage others to read it / listen to it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great book

This novel was a refreshing exercise in the truth. What the ATF and FBI and in large part the media did to the people at Mount Carmel was criminal in the least.

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Interesting and Informative, 25 Years Have Passed, Still Unfortunately More Shockingly Relevant Today!

I think this book is most eye-opening because it is a 25-year-old example of the abuse and miss use of government power In the United States. Furthermore, it also is a relevant illustration of how our criminal legal system is politicized. This is further complicated by the fact that the jury verdicts in criminal cases are rarely if ever about justice. Finally, in the context of what is going on today with regard to the issue of the use and the abuse of government power in the United States. I think the book is most relevant indeed. I cannot honestly say we have learned anything from the tragedy that occurred in Waco. As the book illustrates this is specifically but not exclusively true with regard to the federal government’s conduct, contrasted against the American people’s failure as citizens to hold our government accountable, for it’s misdeeds, poor reckless judgment, and it’s criminal conduct. This should concern every loyal American, because the American government is a government based on the principle that the government is constructed of, for, and by the people it is responsible for governing, the American people. In the United States our rights are given by God not the United States government and it is the American people who are sovereign and thus ultimately hold the power not only in the government but also above it as well. The government of the United States in all it’s forms and actions is ultimately answerable to the people of the United States. The average American citizen. This important and vital point is well made in this book. It is one of the reasons this book is a must read.

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A story that needed to be told!!!

It’s sad that events like this get pushed aside and forgotten due to the government over reaching and political gains. This and others need to be shared and discussed more often as we are so often blinded by media and social pressures to lean one way or another. You have to search for truths and answers. There are alway two sides to a story. I am thankful David was able to share this. Imagine if he hadn’t survived to tell this tell would we every truly know about the community and the people lost at Mt. Carmel?

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Engaging

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed listening to this book and following along with the weekly showing of the 2018 tv series. I was a small child when the Waco news was all over our television. Hearing this story made me think alternative action could have been taken - and sooner. A new perspective on a tragic event. Keep telling your story.

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Great insight and honesty

The author tells it like he remembers it. The good, the bad and the crazy. I was 8 yrs old when Waco happened and I remember my parents being so upset by what we were seeing on our TV. This was a lot of what I was looking for, I wanted to know more about what happened in those days, who the Davidians were and what happened afterwards. The book is well read. If I had to put any negative to my review I would say that the authors jumps around in time with little warning but I got used to it.

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Eye opening - just as expected!

A great insider story from his perspective. Thibodeau did an incredible job bringing this story to life with the inside details. A true insider's experience and is easy to see how those inside followed Vernon & believed in him. I have often wondered about the info rec'd from the ATF, FBI, DOJ, etc and this brings to light exactly the questions I had. Things could have been handled so much better & altho I believe Janet Reno was great while she held her position, she was absolutely blinded and misled on this occasion (her first major experience). Hard to believe that 25 years has passed since this tragic event.

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Revelations

Now the truth is revealed. David has done the community of Waco and the U. S. a great service by writing this book. With all the videos and movies that have erupted from this tragedy a view from the inside is an epic undertaking. His experiences are well worth reading for those interested in the truth. Find out for yourself as you read this fascinating yet disturbing account of life, love, friendship and decent from someone who was there.

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  • C. R. Mabey
  • 03-02-18

A difficult & potentially divisive read.

What disappointed you about Waco?

Authored by a Branch Davidian survivor, I obviously expected this book to have a certain perspective but it comes across as trying very, very (too?) hard to convince. Almost immediately, the manner of writing seems to be overly conscious in its efforts to sway the reader, even down to glaringly obvious word choices to achieve very particular connotations.

From all the numerous accounts released over the years (including from other surviving Branch Davidians) there is undoubtedly blame to be placed on both sides but, rather than a heartfelt account of living through the awful events of Waco, it felt more like a series of carefully constructed justifications and accusations.

One thing that is clear with this book, the author is still very much committed to his "cause" and how much any reader gets from this book will depend entirely on whether they respect him for that or whether they are angered or frustrated by it.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Narration was good, natural & easy to listen to.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-21-18

Essential reading /listening....

Totally absorbing, totally disturbing and totally contradictory to what we were told by a hysterical media out for blood and the lies of a militarised and incompetent federal agency. I don't agree with some of the core values of The Davidians, but the way there were treated is a massive and illegal travesty.

A dark moment in U.S. history.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew Luke Soall
  • 03-31-18

The other side if the coin

After doing a deep dive into the Waco Seige for a research project I was guided toward this book. Its an improtant first hand account of a horrible government mistake. Ultimately you will still disagree with the actions of some. But this novel will offer you an insight not considered before.