BOOK REVIEW: LONE WOLF
In 1996 and 1997, several sites in the cities of Atlanta, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama were the targets of disquieting attacks by a pipe bomber. The bomb near the Olympic venues in Atlanta left one woman dead and many injured. Attacks at two abortion clinics and a nightclub also resulted in death and grievous injuries.
Almost immediately, investigators were quite certain that all the attacks had been planned and carried out by the same individual. In the aftermath of the final attack, two alert pedestrians followed a man through their neighborhood, eventually making note of a license plate number as the mysterious individual drove away. The information from the truck plate led investigators to a rural area of the North Carolina mountains, and a man named Eric Rudolph.
Rudolph evaded capture for five years, living on what he could scavenge from restaurant and grocery store dumpsters in the area. Eventually he was apprehended on one of his nighttime trips to replenish his food supply, arrested, placed in federal custody and tried for the attacks. After a plea bargain, he was sentenced to life in prison at the Federal "Supermax" site in southeast Colorado.
Vollers had an investigative journalist's dream come true, when Rudolph responded to her requests for interviews and eventually waived his right to have his attorneys' files remain privileged.
LONE WOLF is an engrossing read, like the best true crime stories. Vollers interviewed family members, friends and neighbors, attorneys, victims who survived the bomb attacks, as well as dozens of law enforcment officers from federal, state, and local levels. The portrait of Rudolph which emerges as his trial approaches is hard to sum up as "all good" or "all bad." As legal proceedings conclude, Vollers closes her account with excerpts from extensive documents made public by Rudolph after the plea bargain was accomplished and set. These paragraphs provide a chilling look into Rudolph's motivations. In addition, they amply support her choice of title for her book, since Rudolph acted on his own for every step of his campaign.
REVIEWED BY WOODSTOCK
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