Unabomber’s Manifesto Published 20 Years Ago

Twenty years ago this past weekend, on September 19, 1995, the Washington Post published the Unabomber’s manifesto. The Post recounts their decision to publish the 35,000 word document in a special section, after several months of consultations with the FBI and Attorney General Janet Reno. The publication of the manifesto set in motion a chain of events that would ultimately lead to Ted Kaczynski’s arrest in April 1996.

Every Last TieIn January, we will publish Every Last Tie: The Story of the Unabomber and His Family by Ted’s brother David Kaczynski. In the book David recounts how his wife Linda Patrik approached him a few months before the publication of the manifesto with her suspicions that his brother might be the Unabomber. He was immediately dismissive, but promised her that he’d read the manifesto if it was ever published. A few months later, it was. He and Linda rushed to a library near their upstate New York home to read it. David recounts in the book:

“I fully expected to be able to turn to Linda and say, “It’s definitely not him! Now do you see how silly you’ve been? But as I finished the first paragraph, I sat immobilized, my eyes glued to the screen. My emotions were a mix of fear, dismay, anger. I’d sometimes reacted this way while reading one of Ted’s hurtful letters. In the opening lines of the manifesto, I detected a tone similar to Ted’s when he wrote letters condemning our parents. Only here the indictment was vastly expanded. On the surface the phraseology was calm and intellectual, but it barely concealed the author’s smoldering rage. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t turn to Linda and honestly say that the writing was not my brother’s.”

At the end of the Washington Post article, editor Leonard Downie, Jr. says, “We solved the case. The FBI didn’t.” David Kaczynski argues that the real hero is Linda. “In the end,” he writes, “the case was cracked by Linda, a private citizen unconnected to the massive investigation.” One reason David has written Every Last Tie is to set the record straight about Linda’s important role in finally ending the Unabomber’s killing.

Every Last Tie will be available for sale in January 2016 (and is available for pre-order now from some online outlets). Media, booksellers and librarians can read an advance copy on NetGalley or can contact Duke University Press Publicity for review copies.

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