Book Excerpt: Maryanne Vollers' 'Lone Wolf'

This book was never meant to be the biography of a serial bomber, nor an academic study of terrorism. It is an extended act of journalism, a thin slice taken from a time in the life of our country in an attempt to illuminate a series of horrific events. The idea was not to mythologize Rudolph or his crimes, but to pick them up like rocks in a stream, to hold them up and see what's underneath. On its most elevated level the story is a journey into the darkest precincts of idealism, an exploration of how things can go terribly wrong in the name of doing good. But it is still a story, and in many ways an incomplete one. The challenge has been to take disparate and often contradictory facts and try to fit them into a sensible narrative. This is what prosecutors and writers have in common. So I began my study of Eric Robert Rudolph the way the investigators always begin: by looking at the crimes and at the evidence. And never forgetting the victims.

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