This book covers the events that led to the Waco disaster as well as the disaster itself. It starts with the Millarites and proceeds all the way up through the raid, the siege and the trial of the surviving Davidians. It also covers the life of David Koresh from his birth to his death, and provides some interesting information about the lives of some of the other Davidians, and a very brief summary of the religious views of the community. Its description of events is both very readable and clear.
Perhaps the aspect of this book that I like the most is its even handedness. Many people seem to have a sense that a useful lie is often better than an inconvenient truth. To them making your case is what's important, and getting at the facts is secondary. Dick Reavis clearly rejects this and believes in bringing forth the truth, even when it does not support his own sympathies. I find this very refreshing. He covers both the seamy side of David Koresh, and the evidence of both illegal and immoral activity on the part of the Davidians and of law enforcement officials. Where evidence is inconclusive or conflicts with other evidence he lets us know what evidence there is, and lets us decide.
Perhaps more importantly than the catalog of events this book also gives us a look at the Davidians as people. It tries to tell us who these people were. We are presented information about life in Mt. Carmel, how they lived and how they viewed the world. This is at least as interesting as the presentation of the facts.
I do have some criticisms of this book. For one this book does have a tendency to waste its already too few pages on what amounts to side issues that seem to me irrelevant to an understanding of what happened at Waco. Examples of these include arguments about the constitutionality of gun control, and a digression on other apocalyptic groups with rather tenuous relationships with the events at Waco. Also, I would have liked to see more of the negotiation tapes. Apparently Dick Reavis had access to all of them, but in his book we get only brief glimpses at what was going on in the negotiations.
In all these complaints should be seen as very minor. This is an excellent book and a great summary of the events at Waco, from an author who deserves our thanks for sticking with the story for long enough to get at the facts, and for presenting them to us so clearly and objectively.