cover image Oklahoma City: 
What the Investigation Missed—and Why It Still Matters

Oklahoma City: What the Investigation Missed—and Why It Still Matters

Andrew Gumbel and Roger Charles. Morrow, $27.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-198644-4

Intriguing leads—but no smoking guns—point to a wider conspiracy in the 1995 terrorist bombing in Oklahoma City in this suggestive recap. Journalists Gumbel (Steal This Vote) and Charles trace the plot by antigovernment zealot Timothy McVeigh and his submissive sidekick, Terry Nichols, to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which killed 168 people, and the allegedly botched investigation. The authors’ meandering, disjointed probe examines evidence of additional culprits that they contend was dismissed by fractious federal investigators: eyewitness accounts of a “John Doe Two” present when the bomb-bearing truck was rented; sightings of other figures accompanying McVeigh during the attack; McVeigh’s extensive contacts with other extremists. Advancing a restrained, plausible theory that there were other violent, ultraconservative racists in on the crime besides the two who confessed, the authors offer an inconclusive case that doesn’t tell us which potential co-conspirators did what. They do paint a vivid portrait of the right-wing circles in which McVeigh and Nichols moved, a colorful milieu of gun nuts, fundamentalist sectarians, cross-dressers, meth heads, and costumed neo-Nazi bank robbers. While not fingering a specific perp, Gumbel and Charles present a telling sketch of the subculture that birthed the crime. Photos. Agent: Gail Ross, Ross Yoon Agency. (Apr.)