Bullets, Bombs, and Fast Talk: Twenty-five Years of FBI War Stories

James Botting, Author
James Botting, Author . Potomac $26.95 (239p) ISBN 978-1-59797-244-4
Reviewed on: 12/15/2008
Release date: 10/01/2008
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From 1971 to 1996, when Botting was an FBI SWAT team member and crisis negotiator, he worked on many of the high-profile crimes irrevocably etched in Americans’ collective memory—Wounded Knee in 1973; the Patty Hearst kidnapping; the Rodney King riots; the ill-fated capture of Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge, Idaho; and the Branch Davidian tragedy in Waco, Tex. Botting’s insider view of FBI operations at these events is intrinsically interesting, and he brings added value through his own on-the-scene observations. Botting’s style occasionally comes close to tough-talking cliché (bad guys are “lying assholes”), but is oddly satisfying. There are sometimes predictable dynamics, for example, feuding among the LAPD, the DEA and the FBI, and the frequent cluelessness of FBI higher-ups; refreshingly, though, Botting is respectful of his fellow FBI agents and “the Bureau.” Readers into guns and real crime drama with a sprinkling of black humor (“It’s amazing what the public will do for entertainment,” he says of a crowd yelling at a suicidal woman to jump) will like Botting and the stories he has to tell. Photos. (Feb.)

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