Waco: A Survivor’s Story
By David Thibodeau and Leon Whiteson with Aviva Layton
(Published by Hachette Books)
A Book and Six-Part Television Series on Paramount Network


25 years later, the re-issued book Waco, A Survivor’s Story and a six-part miniseries can be seen on Paramount Network (now in 2018.)  Today, it grips the nation and its audience 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 (Hachette Books; published on 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 the Paramount Network, which is based on his book.   (David’s original book was published in 1999 by Public Affairs under the title – A Place Called Waco: A Survivor’s Story.  By David Thibodeau and Leon Whiteson.) 

Link to Hachette Books Website Announcement:    https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/davidthibodeau/waco/

PRAISE for Waco, A Survivor’s Story

"An extraordinary account of one of the most shameful episodes in recent American history. I wish that everyone in the country could read this book."—Howard Zinn

"This book gives a rare glimpse of life at Mount Carmel and an account of how that attack contrasts with the 'official' government version. With the renewed interest in this siege, this book is recommended for public libraries."   —School Library Journal

"This narrative defies many of our media-mediated preconceptions of Koresh's followers.   —Booklist

"Thibodeau, one of only four Branch Davidians to live through the Waco disaster and not be sentenced to jail, has produced a surprisingly balanced and honest account of his time as a Branch Davidian. Neither sensationalist nor defensive, this will make satisfying reading for anyone interested in the April 1993 tragedy."  —Kirkus Review

"A disquieting portrait of a religious community and its enigmatic leader."
Kirkus Reviews

"Honest... [about] whether the excessive force used by our government against American citizens was really necessary."  —Lincoln Star Journal