Catalogue


Why Waco? : cults and the battle for religious freedom in America /
James D. Tabor and Eugene V. Gallagher.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1995.
description
xiv, 252 p., [8] p. of plates : ill.
ISBN
0520201868 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
added author
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1995.
isbn
0520201868 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
1306021
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"The label "cult" can become a license to kill. . . . A courageous religious scholar, James Tabor, understanding what was at stake, tried valiantly to prevent the tragedy at Waco. Persevering in its wake, he and Eugene Gallagher thoroughly investigated the background, participants, and events leading to the destruction of the Mount Carmel Church and its members. Their findings are presented in this critically important book."--Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General "Here, at last, is a glimpse of 'the other side' of the tragic confrontation. . . . The authors offer an alternative to the common wisdom about Waco as well as a critique of the anti-cult ideology that helped misdefine the situation and bring about its fateful--and fatal--results."--Dean M. Kelley, Counselor on Religious Liberty, National Council of Churches "For public debate on a serious issue facing our society, this book deserves wide and sober reading."--John R. Hall, author ofGone From the Promised Land: Jonestown as American Cultural History
Flap Copy
"The label "cult" can become a license to kill. . . . A courageous religious scholar, James Tabor, understanding what was at stake, tried valiantly to prevent the tragedy at Waco. Persevering in its wake, he and Eugene Gallagher thoroughly investigated the background, participants, and events leading to the destruction of the Mount Carmel Church and its members. Their findings are presented in this critically important book."--Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General "Here, at last, is a glimpse of 'the other side' of the tragic confrontation. . . . The authors offer an alternative to the common wisdom about Waco as well as a critique of the anti-cult ideology that helped misdefine the situation and bring about its fateful--and fatal--results."--Dean M. Kelley, Counselor on Religious Liberty, National Council of Churches "For public debate on a serious issue facing our society, this book deserves wide and sober reading."--John R. Hall, author of Gone From the Promised Land: Jonestown as American Cultural History
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1995-08:
This is a sober‘and sobering‘examination of the 1993 Branch Davidian crisis and its unsettling implications for church-state relations in the United States. Tabor (religious studies, Univ. of North Carolina) was there, talking with both David Koresh and the FBI and helping to contextualize Koresh's actions, reactions, and decisions in light of his belief system. Together with Gallagher (religious studies, Connecticut Coll.), he closely examines Davidian interpretations of biblical prophesy, analyzes popular media representations of unpopular religions, and questions the violent responses sparked by suggestions of cult. A 20-page appendix presents Koresh's unfinished manuscript on the Book of Revelation. An intelligent, thoroughly documented study, Why Waco? is especially important given the battle for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Congressional hearings on Waco. Highly recommended, particularly for academic and church libraries.‘Bill Piekarski, Southwestern Coll. Lib., Chula Vista, Cal. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 1995-12:
Tabor and Gallagher have provided the best scholarly analysis of the tragic events during the siege by governmental agents of the Branch Davidian compound at Mount Carmel outside of Waco, Texas. By taking a religious studies approach, which focuses on both the biblical and theological interpretations of David Koresh and his followers, the authors point to the failure of understanding exhibited by key players, such as government and FBI leaders, journalists, and the media. They are also highly critical of the members of the anti cult movement in the US, who succeeded in portraying the Branch Davidians as a "destructive cult" that inevitably had to be attacked and destroyed. Because Tabor was personally involved as an outside negotiator trying to bring about a peaceful resolution, the book contains interview materials and photographs of members of the group that are not available elsewhere. The authors obtained Koresh's uncompleted exegesis, "The Seven Seals of the Book of Revelation," which is included in the appendix, as well as the authors' commentary on Koresh's work. The book also contains an insightful analysis on the sociology of charismatic leaders and followers and the threat to religious freedom posed by incidents such as Waco. This highly readable book is recommended for undergraduates as well as graduate students, faculty, and professionals interested in new religious movements. L. H. Mamiya; Vassar College
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1995-08-07:
Tabor, a University of North Carolina religious studies professor, was a consultant to lawyers mediating directly with David Koresh during the 51-day siege in Waco, Texas, in 1993 that left four federal agents dead and engulfed the Branch Davidian compound in flames, killing 74 members, including 21 children. He and Gallagher, a religious studies professor at Connecticut College, make a compelling case that the confrontation was avoidable and could have been resolved peacefully. Attorney General Janet Reno made her decision to end the siege by force, they claim, against her better judgment under pressure from officials who gave her reports containing unsupported allegations of child abuse and sexual misconduct among the Branch Davidians. Much less convincing is the authors' attempt to refute the media image of ex-Seventh Day Adventist Koresh as a cruel, megalomaniacal, polygamous fanatic who manipulated his devotees. Rejecting the label of ``cult,'' the authors view the Branch Davidians and kindred groups as genuine, albeit unconventional, religious movements whose critics misunderstand the dynamics of charismatic leadership. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews, June 1995
Library Journal, August 1995
Publishers Weekly, August 1995
Booklist, September 1995
Choice, December 1995
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Long Description
The 1993 government assault on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, resulted in the deaths of four federal agents and eighty Branch Davidians, including seventeen children. Whether these tragic deaths could have been avoided is still debatable, but what seems clear is that the events in Texas have broad implications for religious freedom in America. James Tabor and Eugene Gallagher's bold examination of the Waco story offers the first balanced account of the siege. They try to understand what really happened in Waco: What brought the Branch Davidians to Mount Carmel? Why did the government attack? How did the media affect events? The authors address the accusations of illegal weapons possession, strange sexual practices, and child abuse that were made against David Koresh and his followers. Without attempting to excuse such actions, they point out that the public has not heard the complete story and that many media reports were distorted. The authors have carefully studied the Davidian movement, analyzing the theology and biblical interpretation that were so central to the group's functioning. They also consider how two decades of intense activity against so-called cults have influenced public perceptions of unorthodox religions. In exploring our fear of unconventional religious groups and how such fear curtails our ability to tolerate religious differences,Why Waco'is an unsettling wake-up call. Using the events at Mount Carmel as a cautionary tale, the authors challenge all Americans, including government officials and media representatives, to closely examine our national commitment to religious freedom.
Main Description
The 1993 government assault on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, resulted in the deaths of four federal agents and eighty Branch Davidians, including seventeen children. Whether these tragic deaths could have been avoided is still debatable, but what seems clear is that the events in Texas have broad implications for religious freedom in America. James Tabor and Eugene Gallagher's bold examination of the Waco story offers the first balanced account of the siege. They try to understand what really happened in Waco: What brought the Branch Davidians to Mount Carmel? Why did the government attack? How did the media affect events? The authors address the accusations of illegal weapons possession, strange sexual practices, and child abuse that were made against David Koresh and his followers. Without attempting to excuse such actions, they point out that the public has not heard the complete story and that many media reports were distorted. The authors have carefully studied the Davidian movement, analyzing the theology and biblical interpretation that were so central to the group's functioning. They also consider how two decades of intense activity against so-called cults have influenced public perceptions of unorthodox religions. In exploring our fear of unconventional religious groups and how such fear curtails our ability to tolerate religious differences, Why Waco?is an unsettling wake-up call. Using the events at Mount Carmel as a cautionary tale, the authors challenge all Americans, including government officials and media representatives, to closely examine our national commitment to religious freedom.
Table of Contents
Preface
Acknowledgments
What Might Have Been
Moving to Mount Carmel
Unlocking the Seven Seals
The Sinful Messiah
A Complex Hostage
Barricade Rescue Situation
The Wacko from Waco
The Cult Controversy
Waco and Religious Freedom in America
Appendix: An Unfinished Manuscript
Notes
A Note on Sources
Index
List of Mount Carmel Branch Davidians Illustrations followingpage 146
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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