Synopses & Reviews
He was supposed to be dead. Five years after Eric Rudolph escaped into the mountains of North Carolina, the FBI had long since abandoned the largest manhunt ever launched on U.S. soil. The fugitive accused of bombing the Atlanta Olympics, a gay bar, and two abortion clinics, leaving a trail of carnage across the southeast, had become a figure of folk legend. Many of his pursuers thought he had either skipped the country or crawled into a cave to die. In fact, Rudolph had been haunting the mountains and towns he knew best, pilfering food, stealing trucks, stalking the men who hunted him, and keeping his secrets buried in the woods. Then one night Rudolph got careless, and a rookie cop captured him a few miles from where he had first disappeared. But even in custody, Rudolph remained a mystery.
In Lone Wolf, Maryanne Vollers brings the reader inside one of the most sensational cases of domestic terrorism in American history. In addition to her unprecedented correspondence with Rudolph, Vollers had access to the FBI, the ATF, federal prosecutors, members of Rudolph's defense team, and his family to re-create the story in all its sweeping breadth and complexity.
Lone Wolf asks the inevitable questions: Who is Eric Rudolph, and why did he kill? Is he the hate-filled neo-Nazi described by federal agents, or is he the passionate, curious, and engaging man described by his lawyers and his family? Can both personalities exist in one rare, complicated, and deadly individual?
The profilers and psychologists Vollers interviews identify Rudolph as a "lone offender," a self-appointed avenger with no real alliances and no meaningful social ties. It puts Rudolph in the same category as Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, and Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. The "lone wolf" believes history will judge him to be a hero. Society judges him to be a monster. Without losing sight of the hideous violence of his crimes, Lone Wolf seeks to put a human face on this iconic killer as it explores the painful mysteries of the human heart.
"Eric Rudolph, who in 1996 and 1997 set off deadly bombs in Atlanta and Birmingham at two abortion clinics, a gay bar and at Olympic Centennial Park was both reviled as a terrorist and celebrated as a folk hero when he evaded the largest manhunt in FBI history for five years. Vollers, a National Book Award finalist for Ghosts of Mississippi, was for reasons Rudolph never made clear the only journalist he consented to communicate with (in writing only) while he was awaiting trial. She draws on his letters to her to great effect in providing not just a page-turning account of the hunt for Rudolph, but, more important, a look into the 'remarkable and frightening mind' of a man who, after finally pleading guilty to avoid the death penalty, remained proud of his murderous actions. The cunning fugitive, whose aim was to protest abortion, explains to Vollers how he survived the winter cold in North Carolina's Nantahala forest, how he scavenged for food, talked to himself and read newspapers aloud to prevent his vocal cords from deteriorating during the years when he spoke to no one. Vollers provides an equally striking portrait of Rudolph's mother, a misguided spiritual seeker who led her son into contact with a Christian Identity compound and other survivalist, antigovernment extremists. There are plenty of surprises and conundrums in this breathtaking and deeply disturbing attempt to answer the elusive question, 'Who is Eric Rudolph?'" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A standout in the true crime genre, Ms. Vollers's book is consistently astute." Janet Maslin, New York Times
"[A] disturbing and finely drawn portrait of a lone wolf, an unrepentant criminal who acted alone to express his fire-and-brimstone hatred of abortion and what he calls 'the concerted effort to legitimize the practice of homosexuality' in America." Los Angeles Times
Draws on exclusive interviews with the 1996 Olympics bomber to identify the factors that led to his crimes and the plausibility that others like him exist, in an account that also features consultations with law enforcers, fanatics, and philosophers while deconstructing a home-made bomb to reveal the personality of its creator. 40,000 first printing.
Through a series of exclusive interviews with Eric Rudolph, the prime suspect in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing, a celebrated author tells the untold story of an archetypal American terrorist.
About the Author
The author of Ghosts of Mississippi (National Book Award finalist), coauthor (with Jerri Nielsen) of the #1 New York Times bestseller Ice Bound, and collaborator on Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's bestselling memoir, Living History, Maryanne Vollers is a former editor at Rolling Stone and has written for Time, Esquire, GQ, and the New York Times Magazine. She lives in Montana with her husband.