Hunting the Unabomber
Thomas Nelson Pub
April 28th, 2020
Hunting the Unabomber by Lis Wiehl with Lisa Pulitzer is the second in a series of books. The author goes on the “hunt” to find killers whose cases had social significance. Although the book covers the facts, timelines and people involved, it also adds a new perspective on how the FBI organized their efforts to track him down.
“I interviewed Patrick Webb who was the FBI agent in charge of the Unabomber task force. He was willing to help me because my dad was an FBI agent and he wanted to set the record straight. The miniseries that was on TV was not accurate, and highlighted a profiler, James R. Fitzgerald who was not involved the way the show made it out to be. Webb said that the miniseries had gotten it wrong, and that the hunt was a team effort. He said that the agent portrayed on the show, while on the team, had never met Kaczynski. Agent Webb said that the miniseries painted a false narrative of how the FBI really handled the case. He worried that if people believed that the TV series was the true story about the Unabomber, they would have been misled.”
The book shows how Ted Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber, masterminded a campaign of terror, maiming, and killings of innocent people through bombs sent in untraceable packages. After a “manifesto,” was published in 1995 written by the Unabomber, the case was finally solved.
“There was a six-year gap, where the violence stopped, and the consideration that the task force was going to be dissembled. Patrick Webb and a few others convinced the powers that be to give them another six months. I think it took so long because Ted Kaczynski perfected bomb making. He used discarded pieces of wood, wire, and metal that he picked up along the edge of the road, in junkyards, dumpsters, and other places near his cabin. He never bought new materials to fashion his bomb components. There was never anything that investigators could trace back to a lumber yard, hardware store, or plumbing supply shop because he never frequented those establishments and never bought any of his bomb-making goods. To further compound problems for investigators, Kaczynski had been careful to remove any serial numbers or other identifying marks from the components he used. Plus, there was nothing about him that suggested he was, or could be, dangerous to others.”
Written as a thriller this book is well researched, interesting, and engrossing. Readers will learn more about the Unabomber and how he was hunted.