Hunting the Unabomber by Lis Wiehl Review

cover180604-mediumHunting the Unabomber: The FBI, Ted Kaczynski, and the Capture of America’s Most Notorious Domestic Terrorist

By Lis Wiehl with Lisa Pulitzer

Genre: Non-Fiction/History

Publication Date: April 28th, 2020

Content Warnings: mild descriptions of injuries inflicted on bomb victims

Nelson Publishing


My Review:

Not many non-fiction books can hold my attention for too long. Not unless it’s Medieval or Norse history, a book on horses, a book on real detectives, or just plain weird. Or, unless it’s about crime.

I’ve only dived into a couple other books about criminals, the one about a woman who did studied on serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacey to understand just how they worked, and the other was about the two men who started the Behavioral Analysis Unit in the FBI. So naturally, I was interested when I saw Hunting the Unabomber on NetGalley. I just had to read it.

The beginning of the book starts out like a story; illustrating what life was like in December of 1992 in California. Then we ease into the life of FBI Supervisory Special Agent Patrick Webb, and we follow his thread of the story (mostly) throughout the book as he laid out details about the monstrous case involving the Unabomber to the author.

The voice of the narrative continued to be engaging, and just sucked me right in. I listened to every detail with rapt attention, even when things got messy for the people mentioned. I already knew quite a bit about the Unabomber, due to the fact that my mom took criminal psychology in college and wrote a paper on Ted Kaczynski. So it was giving me a more in-depth picture of the man who I grew up believing to be this monstrous nightmare.

I found it to be a very enlightening and somewhat puzzling story. No one knows quite what made Ted snap in the end. He just…did, making a conscious decision to start killing. Wiehl portrays all of this without any sort of bias, leaving the reader to make their own conclusions. I’d have to say that this is one that I really liked. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading true crime, criminal history, or is just curious about one of America’s most notorious domestic terrorists.

NOTE: I received a complimentary copy from NetGalley for review purposes only. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


About the Book:

On April 3, 1996, a team of FBI agents closed in on an isolated cabin in remote Montana, marking the end of the longest and most expensive investigation in FBI history. The cabin’s lone inhabitant was a former mathematics prodigy and professor who had abandoned society decades earlier. Few people knew his name, Theodore Kaczynski, but everyone knew the mayhem and death associated with his nickname: the Unabomber.

For two decades, Kaczynski had masterminded a campaign of random terror, killing and maiming innocent people through bombs sent in untraceable packages. The FBI task force charged with finding the perpetrator of these horrifying crimes grew to 150 people, yet his identity remained a maddening mystery. Then, in 1995, a “manifesto” from the Unabomber was published in the New York Times and Washington Post, resulting in a cascade of tips–including the one that cracked the case.

Hunting the Unabomber includes:

Exclusive interviews with key law enforcement agents who attempted to track down Kaczynski, correcting the history distorted by earlier films and streaming seriesNever-before-told stories of inter-agency law enforcement conflicts that changed the course of the investigationAn in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at why the hunt for the Unabomber was almost shut down by the FBI

New York Times bestselling author and former federal prosecutor Lis Wiehl meticulously reconstructs the white-knuckle, tension-filled hunt to identify and capture the mysterious killer. This is a can’t-miss, true crime thriller of the years-long battle of wits between the FBI and the brilliant-but-criminally insane Ted Kaczynski.

(Description taken from NetGalley)

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