A Place Called Waco: A Survivor’s Story
By David Thibodeau and Leon Whiteson
Soon to be a six-part series on Spike TV

 

25 YEARS LATER, THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED SURVIVAL STORY OF WACO, BY ONE OF ONLY FOUR UNPROSECUTED SURVIVORS, COMES TO TELEVISION IN A HOTLY ANTICIPATED MINISERIES STARRING MICHAEL SHANNON AND TAYLOR KITSCH.

25 years later, The Weinstein Company’s six-part miniseries Waco, airing on Spike TV in early 2018, will grip the nation just as choppy cable-news coverage of a tense government standoff did in 1993. Only nine people survived the massive conflagration that trapped and killed 74 others—including 21 children—in Waco, Texas, on April 19, 1993, and 24-year-old David Thibodeau was one of them. In honor of the 25th anniversary of the tragedy, Thibodeau is releasing his critically acclaimed memoir in ebook, paperback, and audio-book form for the first time. Now with a haunting new epilogue, WACO: A SURVIVOR’S STORY (Weinstein Books; on sale January 2, 2018) is the original and most definitive inside account of what happened on that fateful day.

WACO is a tale about twists of fate—the small encounters that can determine, or ruin, the rest of our lives. When he first met the man who called himself David Koresh, Thibodeau, who had never been religious in the slightest, was drumming for a rock band that was going nowhere fast. With the same straightforward speeches and beguiling charm used by Koresh, Thibodeau explains how he came to believe Koresh was the messiah to lead the community through the seven seals of the apocalypse. He takes an anthropologist’s view of life at Mount Carmel, the Branch Davidian compound where he spent two and a half years. We meet the men, women, and children who composed this religious sect—a reminder of the humanity of those whom the world saw as heathens.

The Mount Carmel Thibodeau describes is a flawed but peaceful community seeking a refuge from religious persecution. But without warning, they were attacked by their own government—a government that, Thibodeau’s original research reveals, fabricated criminal charges, blurred civil-military jurisdictions, and flubbed a straightforward undercover operation, all in an effort to flex its muscles for the cameras they had invited to tag along. Above all, Thibodeau relates the agonizing sounds, the stomach-turning smells, and the horrifying sights of the final raid, in which a mysterious fire burned the sprawling complex to the ground. Using never-before-heard eyewitness accounts, Thibodeau aims to answer the question of who lit the match that sent 74 people to their graves.

Amid the charred rubble of his home and his life, Thibodeau objectively scrutinizes the tragedy that riveted a nation and, without any of the zealotry of a religious fanatic, tries to make sense of who was to blame. In the process, WACO recounts the suspense of the siege and the ferocity of the firefight as if it were a work of fiction—made even more terrifying by the knowledge that this was real life.

David Thibodeau is one of only four Branch Davidians who survived the Waco massacre who was not sentenced to prison. Over the 25 years since, Thibodeau has lived in Los Angeles, Austin, and Bangor, Maine, where he currently continues his life as a drummer and entrepreneur. He is a story consultant on the upcoming Waco miniseries on Spike TV, which is based on his book.