Eric Rudolph, the Western North Carolina-based terrorist who became one of the FBI’s most-wanted suspects after a string of bombings in the 1990s, is giving away his version of his life story. His self-published autobiography, which was briefly for sale earlier this year, is now freely available online.
On Dec. 17, the Virginia-based Army of God, a radical anti-abortion group that has served as Rudolph’s conduit to the outside world since he was sentenced to life in prison in 2005, posted Rudolph’s book, “Between the Lines of Drift: Memoirs of a Militant,” on its website.
In the 248-page work, Rudolph detailed key stages of his life and the bombings he conducted in Atlanta and Birmingham. He also described his years on the run, in a kind of survivalist tutorial. He explained how he stole explosives from an Ashevillearea business to wreak havoc elsewhere.
Nowhere in the book did Rudolph express remorse for the deaths and injuries he caused. But he did offer new clues about his activities along the way and the path that led him to become a serial bomber.
Rudolph’s memoir proves to be a hard sell
The memoir’s path to public exposure has proved to be as erratic and controversy-laden as its author.
At first, Rudolph, who’s said he staged the bombings to attack abortion providers, “Sodomites” and various forms of supposed tyranny, tried to sell his book for a profit.
His brother, Daniel Rudolph, offered the autobiography at Lulu.com early this year. A federal judge promptly suspended sales, ruling that all proceeds from the book must go to Eric Rudolph’s living victims, a prospect that the bomber, evidently, seeks to block. He owes more than $1 million to the people he has injured.
For now, the book is available for free at an Army of God website.
A window into the mind of a terrorist
The book begins with a chapter on Rudolph’s anticlimactic arrest on a Saturday night in May 2003, as he foraged in a dumpster behind a grocery story in Murphy, the Cherokee County town close to where he’d holed up in the woods for five years after the bombings.
“I rarely shopped at the Sav-A-Lot on the weekend,” Rudolph wrote. “Although the dumpster was often better stocked [on the weekends], police patrols always increased.”
“Shopping” that weekend proved his undoing, as a rookie police officer nabbed the fugitive who had dodged a federal dragnet for so long. At the time of his arrest, Rudolph seemed almost resigned to it, according to the memoir.
Rudolph had a rough childhood and found himself in racial clashes along the way, growing up in newly desegregated Florida schools. His stints in the U.S. Army and at Western Carolina University shaped him further.
“I saw the handwriting on the wall: America was doomed unless some radical solution was found very soon,” he concluded.