Book Review | Waco: A Survivor's Story

The book "Waco: A Survivor's Story" on a wood table

Hey y'all! This is my first book review on here, and I'm super excited to share content like this more often. Before I jump into the review, I want to give y'all some context around my rating scale. I will be rating every book between 1-5 stars. A one star rating means I strongly dislike the book, two stars means I didn't like it, three stars means I enjoyed it, four stars means really like it and five stars means I LOVE the book and will rave about it for the rest of my life! It's really rare for me to give a book five stars, so just know if you ever see it, I mean it! Now, let's jump into today's book!

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Over the summer, I watched the show Waco on Netflix after hearing Matthew's brother talk about it at dinner one night. From what I heard, I expected it to be a documentary-style show, but it turned out to be a drama, which was actually better and pulled me into the story immediately! To sum it up in three words, it was amazing, astonishing and heartbreaking. Unable to believe what I had just watched, I began a deep dive into all things Waco-related. As soon as the show ended, I spent about an hour reading what I could online. Unsatisfied, I then decided to put every other book on my reading list on hold so I could learn more.

My first stop: One of the two books the show was based on. Written by Branch Davidian survivor, David Thibodeau, Waco: A Survivor's Story is his personal account of the siege. Beginning when Thibodeau was a drummer in a local rock band, he reflects on his first encounter with David Koresh and many of the moments that led him to being at Mt. Carmel during the siege. He then tells what navigating life after such a tragedy was like and gives his unbridled opinion of the government's actions relating to the whole affair.

This book gave me exactly what I was hoping for: more detail than the show could ever give. Thibodeau dives into moments I overlooked or misunderstood while watching. One detail that will forever be ingrained in my mind is his account of Davidians' gas masks melting to their faces during the fire. Moments like these are especially startling after walking alongside him meet and live with all of these people throughout the book. Another aspect I liked was that he was unafraid to share his perspective. He presented the facts as he knew them, but then quickly followed with his conclusion about the motivations and actions that led to the tragic siege. The photos in the middle were also nice; it was great to put real faces to the names.

Something I had to keep in mind while reading this book is that everyone has their own bias, and that is especially true when reading about topics like this. No one's bias is particularly right or wrong; everyone simply experiences things from a different perspective.

I gave this book three stars because I'm not convinced that I would have enjoyed it as much without watching the show first. The show primed me to know that the Mt. Carmel siege is a controversial topic in American history, and with the book being written by a survivor, I knew I had to shift my perspective prior to reading. I still can't say I was prepared for how passionate the author would be about sharing his side of what went down, though. I'm not sure if anyone actually knows the full story of what happened that day. But overall, this book was a very interesting and personal way for me to learn more about the topic, which is what I wanted at the end of the day!

Have you watched Waco or read anything about it? Right after finishing this book, I read one written by the FBI hostage negotiator that the show was also based on. Stay tuned if you want to hear what I thought about that perspective!

Next on my reading list

No comments