Writing the Book

The journalistic process involves several steps between an original idea and final publication.  When the resulting product is a book, a number of extra steps are involved.  Beyond the primary sources for American Terrorist, including Timothy McVeigh's letters and items sent from outsiders to McVeigh, this collection includes the authors' preliminary work leading up to final publication and promotional materials used for marketing the book.

Excerpts written for the authors' agent, Noah Lukeman, in 1999 under title Patriots' Blood.

Authors' edits of a 7/2000 version

August 2000 manuscript entitled Behind the Face of Terror.

Original version of Lou Michel's introductory material, ca. 10/2000

Edited version of book returned to authors on 12/27/2000

Edited proofs returned to authors 1/18/2001.  This copy was reviewed co-workers Gene Krzyzynski and Kevin Noonan.

Communications between authors and editors 12/2000-3/2001, including Reader's Digest excerpt from book. (C)

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The Final Product

The authors donated several copies of their book as part of the collection.  The differences are noted below.

Original first edition.  Published 4/3/2001.  This copy has a photograph of the Oklahoma City National Memorial on the back cover.

Another first edition. Released a couple of weeks after the original, it has the back cover photograph of the Oklahoma City National Memorial removed, at the request of Memorial officials, and replaced by a quote from the U. S. Attorney's opening argument at McVeigh's trial.

Paperback edition.  Published Jan. 2002.  This includes an additional chapter about the execution of Timothy McVeigh and the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.


Promotional materials.  This includes a transcript of their Prime Time interview with Diane Sawyer, press releases from the publisher, an interview schedule for the weeks before and after publication and related items. (J)  Dan Herbeck's account of the rigors of the authors' efforts in promoting the book is both revealing and amusing. (K)


Authors Michel and Herbeck were surprised by the controversy surrounding the publication of American Terrorist and the virulent reaction to it--before it was published.  After publication, the reaction became generally more favorable, as reviewers realized that the book wasn't an apologia for McVeigh, but a balanced account of the events leading up to and following the bombing. (K)

Parenthetical letters--(A)--included with descriptions of the collection indicate the folder where items are filed.

Please Note:  No electronic reproduction of any of the material in this collection may be made without the written permission of the authors.

This collection is available for the use of St. Bonaventure University faculty, staff and students.  Outside researchers must first get permission from the authors.  They may be contacted at the Buffalo News.

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Last updated: 20 April 2010


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For information about the American Terrorist  collection contact:
telephone: 716.375.2322

Friedsam Memorial Library
St. Bonaventure University
St. Bonaventure, NY  14778  USA
(716) 375-2323 (general number)
(716) 375-2389  (fax)

Last updated:  05/01/13
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