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Madman in the Woods: Life Next Door to the Unabomber

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A haunting account of the sixteen years when a young Jamie Gehring and her family lived closer than anyone to Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, sharing their Montana land, their home, and their dinner table with a hermit with a penchant for murder--and Gehring's investigative quest twenty-five years later to reclaim a piece of her childhood by answering the questions, why, how A haunting account of the sixteen years when a young Jamie Gehring and her family lived closer than anyone to Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, sharing their Montana land, their home, and their dinner table with a hermit with a penchant for murder--and Gehring's investigative quest twenty-five years later to reclaim a piece of her childhood by answering the questions, why, how? As a child in Lincoln, Montana, in the 1980s and '90s, Jamie Gehring had no idea that Ted Kaczynski--the self-sustaining hermit in the adjacent cabin--was anything more than the neighbor who brought her painted rocks as a gift. Ted was simply Ted, and erratic behavior, surprise visits, and chilling events while she was riding horses or helping her dad at his sawmill were dismissed because he was "just the odd hermit." He was, in fact, the Unabomber, for seventeen years mailing explosives to strangers, the longest-running domestic terrorist in American history. As an adult with this knowledge, the innocence of her youth robbed, Gehring needed to reconcile her lived experience with the evil that hid in plain sight. In this book, through years of research probing Ted's personal history, his writings, his secret coded crime journals, her own correspondence with him in his Supermax prison cell, plus interviews with others close to Kaczynski, Gehring unearths the complexity, mystery, and tragedy of her childhood and the hermit on the hill. And she discovers a shocking revelation--she and her family were in Kaczynski's crosshairs. A work of intricately braided research, journalism, and personal memories, this book is a chilling response to the question: Do you really know your neighbor?


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A haunting account of the sixteen years when a young Jamie Gehring and her family lived closer than anyone to Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, sharing their Montana land, their home, and their dinner table with a hermit with a penchant for murder--and Gehring's investigative quest twenty-five years later to reclaim a piece of her childhood by answering the questions, why, how A haunting account of the sixteen years when a young Jamie Gehring and her family lived closer than anyone to Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, sharing their Montana land, their home, and their dinner table with a hermit with a penchant for murder--and Gehring's investigative quest twenty-five years later to reclaim a piece of her childhood by answering the questions, why, how? As a child in Lincoln, Montana, in the 1980s and '90s, Jamie Gehring had no idea that Ted Kaczynski--the self-sustaining hermit in the adjacent cabin--was anything more than the neighbor who brought her painted rocks as a gift. Ted was simply Ted, and erratic behavior, surprise visits, and chilling events while she was riding horses or helping her dad at his sawmill were dismissed because he was "just the odd hermit." He was, in fact, the Unabomber, for seventeen years mailing explosives to strangers, the longest-running domestic terrorist in American history. As an adult with this knowledge, the innocence of her youth robbed, Gehring needed to reconcile her lived experience with the evil that hid in plain sight. In this book, through years of research probing Ted's personal history, his writings, his secret coded crime journals, her own correspondence with him in his Supermax prison cell, plus interviews with others close to Kaczynski, Gehring unearths the complexity, mystery, and tragedy of her childhood and the hermit on the hill. And she discovers a shocking revelation--she and her family were in Kaczynski's crosshairs. A work of intricately braided research, journalism, and personal memories, this book is a chilling response to the question: Do you really know your neighbor?

30 review for Madman in the Woods: Life Next Door to the Unabomber

  1. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Maum

    When it comes to serial killers and other perpetrators of violent crimes, we're often invited to remember that these people were -- or are-- somebody's child or sibling, that they were youngsters at some point, that they knew lightness and joy. But I can't think of any angle that ever asked me to remember that these people were somebody's neighbor. This is a remarkable book written from the point of view of a young woman who grew up sharing land with Kaczynski, sharing generally positive moments When it comes to serial killers and other perpetrators of violent crimes, we're often invited to remember that these people were -- or are-- somebody's child or sibling, that they were youngsters at some point, that they knew lightness and joy. But I can't think of any angle that ever asked me to remember that these people were somebody's neighbor. This is a remarkable book written from the point of view of a young woman who grew up sharing land with Kaczynski, sharing generally positive moments with a reserved neighbor who nevertheless always had a kind word or action for her. Well researched and propulsive, this book falls beautifully in the "memoir plus" category (coined by my friend Leigh Stein) in which books go beyond the simple act of remembering to challenge, move, and educate. I'm grateful to have received an ARC!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rob Samborn

    A superbly written, fascinating, compelling, and often disturbing account of growing up next to one of America's most infamous serial killers. This isn't Dateline; it's an inside and thoughtful look at what it was like to be in such close proximity to a deeply troubled individual. I'm just glad Jamie Gehring was able to tell the tale! And what a tale it is. Highly recommended. I received an ARC for an honest review. Thanks to NetGalley and Diversion Books for the great read. A superbly written, fascinating, compelling, and often disturbing account of growing up next to one of America's most infamous serial killers. This isn't Dateline; it's an inside and thoughtful look at what it was like to be in such close proximity to a deeply troubled individual. I'm just glad Jamie Gehring was able to tell the tale! And what a tale it is. Highly recommended. I received an ARC for an honest review. Thanks to NetGalley and Diversion Books for the great read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Julie Herringa Cirone

    Full disclosure, I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review: I started this somewhat skeptical of the subject. Often with second hand peek into the vicinity of a criminal can seem reaching and self inserting. At the beginning of the book I felt like this was the case. It started with very casual encounters and had a slow lead-up to increasingly alarming interactions. Half way though, Jamie had me hooked. I loved her descriptions, her categories, and her exploration of the lives Ted hurled Full disclosure, I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review: I started this somewhat skeptical of the subject. Often with second hand peek into the vicinity of a criminal can seem reaching and self inserting. At the beginning of the book I felt like this was the case. It started with very casual encounters and had a slow lead-up to increasingly alarming interactions. Half way though, Jamie had me hooked. I loved her descriptions, her categories, and her exploration of the lives Ted hurled into disarray. Her writing is humanistic and compelling. She captures madness and murderous rage; she also captures and searches for scraps of Ted that are are "normal" and caring. This would be a wonderful book for book clubs.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Debi

    I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am not usually drawn to true-crime stories and had very little interest in the backstory of Ted Kaczynski, which is all the more reason this book is remarkable; I could not stop reading. Gehring's descriptions of her idyllic rural life and the beauty of the land that surrounded her childhood home stand in stark contrast to the brutality of Kaczynski's mind and the horror of his crimes. Just when I got lost in h I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am not usually drawn to true-crime stories and had very little interest in the backstory of Ted Kaczynski, which is all the more reason this book is remarkable; I could not stop reading. Gehring's descriptions of her idyllic rural life and the beauty of the land that surrounded her childhood home stand in stark contrast to the brutality of Kaczynski's mind and the horror of his crimes. Just when I got lost in her lyric writing about the Blackfoot Valley landscape, I would be wrenched away in the same fear that had begun to creep over Gehring, her instincts about her neighbor "Teddy" suddenly shaking her to her core. This story of living, for most of Gehring's childhood, a quarter mile from the man that the world would soon know as The Unabomber, is both gripping and beautiful. It asks us what makes a man, even a madman, into who he is, and what separates a rational person's pain from that of a person with an unhinged mind. Madman in the Woods cannot help but be a condemnation of Kaczynski, but it is not without compassion for him. It is a beautifully written story of a truly complex experience.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kara Tatelbaum

    I usually devour books in few days, but I restrained myself from tearing through Madman in the Woods. Part of what slowed down my reading was sharing every fascinating detail with my husband as the story unfolded. This is the kind of book you must talk about. I mean, the author grew up with a serial killer next store—the Unabomber! Ted Kaczynski, “Teddy,” bought land on Gehring’s family property in rural Montana where he lived, plotted, and killed for over two decades flying under the radar of a I usually devour books in few days, but I restrained myself from tearing through Madman in the Woods. Part of what slowed down my reading was sharing every fascinating detail with my husband as the story unfolded. This is the kind of book you must talk about. I mean, the author grew up with a serial killer next store—the Unabomber! Ted Kaczynski, “Teddy,” bought land on Gehring’s family property in rural Montana where he lived, plotted, and killed for over two decades flying under the radar of authorities and his trusting neighbors. As a child, Gehring picked up some strange vibes and grew a little scared of the hermit next store. As an adult, she had no idea if her family was actually in real danger, which lead her to write this heavily researched yet deeply personal memoir. Buy two copies of this book: one for you and the other for a friend you can share the suspense with. Gehring’s father’s motto growing up was “never show weakness” and he would be proud to see her memoir doesn’t back down.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ruthy lavin

    Haunting, interesting, and informative.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea | thrillerbookbabe

    Thank you so much to Kate Rock Book Tours and Jamie Gehring for my copy of Madman in the Woods. The Unabomber has always fascinated me, so getting this book was really exciting. This book was about Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, and how the author lived near him in her childhood. Ted was just Ted to her, even with his surprise visits and weird behavior. As an adult, Gehring uses research and learning about Ted's history to reconcile her experiences. She writes to him, gathers interviews, and uses Thank you so much to Kate Rock Book Tours and Jamie Gehring for my copy of Madman in the Woods. The Unabomber has always fascinated me, so getting this book was really exciting. This book was about Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, and how the author lived near him in her childhood. Ted was just Ted to her, even with his surprise visits and weird behavior. As an adult, Gehring uses research and learning about Ted's history to reconcile her experiences. She writes to him, gathers interviews, and uses research and memoir to discuss her chilling experiences with Kaczynski and the man he would become. She did such an amazing job of writing this book and there are lots of interesting details to keep the reader engaged. It was crazy to hear about someone growing up so close to him and how Ted descended to the place where he became the Unabomber. This book is about loss and self-discovery and asks the question of how well we really know our neighbors. 4-stars

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bookreviewer

    A haunting account of the sixteen years when a young Jamie Gehring and her family lived closer than anyone to Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, sharing their Montana land, their home, and their dinner table with a hermit with a penchant for murder―and Gehring’s investigative quest twenty-five years later to reclaim a piece of her childhood by answering the questions, why, how? As a child in Lincoln, Montana, in the 1980s and ’90s, Jamie Gehring had no idea that Ted Kaczynski―the self-sustaining herm A haunting account of the sixteen years when a young Jamie Gehring and her family lived closer than anyone to Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, sharing their Montana land, their home, and their dinner table with a hermit with a penchant for murder―and Gehring’s investigative quest twenty-five years later to reclaim a piece of her childhood by answering the questions, why, how? As a child in Lincoln, Montana, in the 1980s and ’90s, Jamie Gehring had no idea that Ted Kaczynski―the self-sustaining hermit in the adjacent cabin―was anything more than the neighbor who brought her painted rocks as a gift. Ted was simply Ted, and erratic behavior, surprise visits, and chilling events while she was riding horses or helping her dad at his sawmill were dismissed because he was “just the odd hermit.” He was, in fact, the Unabomber, for seventeen years mailing explosives to strangers, the longest-running domestic terrorist in American history. As an adult with this knowledge, the innocence of her youth robbed, Gehring needed to reconcile her lived experience with the evil that hid in plain sight. In this book, through years of research probing Ted’s personal history, his writings, his secret coded crime journals, her own correspondence with him in his Supermax prison cell, plus interviews with others close to Kaczynski, Gehring unearths the complexity, mystery, and tragedy of her childhood with the madman in the woods. And she discovers a shocking revelation―she and her family were in Kaczynski’s crosshairs. A work of intricately braided research, journalism, and personal memories, this book is a chilling response to the question: Do you really know your neighbor? PS. True Crime story. Don't hesitate to read it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Melnick

    Madman in the Woods is a rare thing: a true crime book that manages to be non-sensational and to find the human being in every person who passes through. This story seamlessly braids the author's personal history with accounts of the domestic terrorist Ted Kaczynski and his victims in such a way that we come away, like the author, able to understand the evil that can lurk next door. This book explores (and answers) the question, can we ever really know our neighbors? Madman in the Woods is a rare thing: a true crime book that manages to be non-sensational and to find the human being in every person who passes through. This story seamlessly braids the author's personal history with accounts of the domestic terrorist Ted Kaczynski and his victims in such a way that we come away, like the author, able to understand the evil that can lurk next door. This book explores (and answers) the question, can we ever really know our neighbors?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Aileen Weintraub

    I was drawn to this true crime book from the first moment I saw the haunting cover, and from page one, I could not stop reading. Gehring masterfully weaves her own personal account of living in the woods just a quarter of a mile away from one of the most infamous domestic terrorists in the US with well-documented research and interviews. As she strives to understand how the Unabomber went from being a well-educated man from a middle-class family to a recluse who subsisted on small game in the wo I was drawn to this true crime book from the first moment I saw the haunting cover, and from page one, I could not stop reading. Gehring masterfully weaves her own personal account of living in the woods just a quarter of a mile away from one of the most infamous domestic terrorists in the US with well-documented research and interviews. As she strives to understand how the Unabomber went from being a well-educated man from a middle-class family to a recluse who subsisted on small game in the woods and ultimately commits murder, the author unpacks her own family history. She delves deep into the psychology of love, loss, and grief, ultimately coming away with a new sense of self-discovery. This is a riveting account from beginning to end.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Feldman

    I loved this twist on the true crime genre! Gehring's account of her Montana childhood is fascinating and evocative enough--and then she adds the particular mystery of Ted Kaczynski, her seemingly kind if eccentric neighbor, and the eternal mystery of "madmen." How well can we really know another person? Who can we trust? What is the nature of evil and madness? The book involves into an investigation into the Unabomber and his history, as Gehring makes peace of her childhood and embarks on paren I loved this twist on the true crime genre! Gehring's account of her Montana childhood is fascinating and evocative enough--and then she adds the particular mystery of Ted Kaczynski, her seemingly kind if eccentric neighbor, and the eternal mystery of "madmen." How well can we really know another person? Who can we trust? What is the nature of evil and madness? The book involves into an investigation into the Unabomber and his history, as Gehring makes peace of her childhood and embarks on parenthood.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Angela Yarber

    I've always wondered why Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, did what he did. Gehring's true crime memoir helps unpack these quandaries, simultaneously unpacking her own childhood living next door to the nation's number one madman with surprising compassion. I was fortunate to read an Advanced Reader Copy. I've always wondered why Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, did what he did. Gehring's true crime memoir helps unpack these quandaries, simultaneously unpacking her own childhood living next door to the nation's number one madman with surprising compassion. I was fortunate to read an Advanced Reader Copy.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Taken from personal encounters with Ted Kaczynski, the author shares what Ted was like growing up as a neighbor and all the quirky habits that made him an interesting and odd child. At times the author shares much of her own childhood in the beginning I found myself wanting to hear more about Ted's life but I believe it was preparing the reader for what it was like to have known such a madman at such a vulnerable age. There is a great deal of research the author provided about Ted and it truly i Taken from personal encounters with Ted Kaczynski, the author shares what Ted was like growing up as a neighbor and all the quirky habits that made him an interesting and odd child. At times the author shares much of her own childhood in the beginning I found myself wanting to hear more about Ted's life but I believe it was preparing the reader for what it was like to have known such a madman at such a vulnerable age. There is a great deal of research the author provided about Ted and it truly is crazy how his mind worked! Definitely worth the read if you are a true crime lover! I appreciate Net Galley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brahna Yassky

    Amazing book. Only someone in Jamie Gehrings position could have written it and only Jamie Gehring could have made it as compelling and descriptive as it is

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jess Rodgers

    I was a bit unsure if I would like this book, but it turns out I loved it. This is one that will stick with me for a long, long time. Jamie Gehring grew up next door to Ted Kaczynski. He held her when she was just a baby. He dined with her family. And then he deliberately, brutally, killed people via packages. Sometimes even those that he didn’t intend to kill. And he felt no remorse about it. Could this be the same man that brought Jamie a hand-carved cup as a gift? Jamie explores her memories I was a bit unsure if I would like this book, but it turns out I loved it. This is one that will stick with me for a long, long time. Jamie Gehring grew up next door to Ted Kaczynski. He held her when she was just a baby. He dined with her family. And then he deliberately, brutally, killed people via packages. Sometimes even those that he didn’t intend to kill. And he felt no remorse about it. Could this be the same man that brought Jamie a hand-carved cup as a gift? Jamie explores her memories about Ted, as well as factual accounts from others that knew him, investigators on the case, and Ted’s own journals. She dispels myths about Kaczynski’s environmental agenda, and brings the truth of a brutal, calculated psychopath to light. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this free arc in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sara Hosey

    Wow! Imagine finding out that the "odd hermit" you knew growing up was really the Unabomber? This is an insightful, fascinating memoir. Wow! Imagine finding out that the "odd hermit" you knew growing up was really the Unabomber? This is an insightful, fascinating memoir.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Miss Anna

    Never in your wildest dreams would you imagine being 'involved' with an infamous criminal and, thankfully, most of us probably never will. So you can certainly understand why, if you had lived next door to one, been brought presents by him, watched your parents have dinner and play cards and chat along without any cares or concerns, you would want to try and unpick some of this when you got older. Every infamous case has a plethora of books spring from it's existence, viewed from every angle and Never in your wildest dreams would you imagine being 'involved' with an infamous criminal and, thankfully, most of us probably never will. So you can certainly understand why, if you had lived next door to one, been brought presents by him, watched your parents have dinner and play cards and chat along without any cares or concerns, you would want to try and unpick some of this when you got older. Every infamous case has a plethora of books spring from it's existence, viewed from every angle and everyone trying to get 'their side' across and this one has more accessibility for the 'layman' than most as it isn't through the eyes of a 'professional'. I really enjoyed the feeling that the author was learning and uncovering elements about the situations they had found themselves in just as we were and some of the revelations were chilling to read, so I can only imagine the impact they must have felt. The input from a very wide range of sources (police, family, other 'locals', even the man himself) into the writing gives it a breadth and depth that really captures the physical, emotional, spiritual and actual. I thoroughly recommend this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    Sure, most everyone knows who the Unabomber is. But this goes beyond what is typically known on the subject. Such a creepy book, yet I couldn’t put it down. Imagine having the Unabomber as your weird neighbor. The author was even held by him as a baby. This just really would make you question everything you thought about your childhood, after it came out that he was the bomber. Gehring really did a deep dive into Kaczynski’s life, trying to sort out why he was the way he was. She has a few insig Sure, most everyone knows who the Unabomber is. But this goes beyond what is typically known on the subject. Such a creepy book, yet I couldn’t put it down. Imagine having the Unabomber as your weird neighbor. The author was even held by him as a baby. This just really would make you question everything you thought about your childhood, after it came out that he was the bomber. Gehring really did a deep dive into Kaczynski’s life, trying to sort out why he was the way he was. She has a few insights she gained during her research that were intriguing. A really good true crime read. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Richard Propes

    There are those experiences in life that when we look back have somehow come to define our life journey. For "Madman in the Woods" author Jamie Gehring, one of those experiences is the subject of her work here as "Madman in the Woods: Life Next Door to the Unabomber" explores a childhood spent living in the deep woods of Montana with Ted Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber, as her family's closest neighbor. "Madman in the Woods" vividly captures the uniqueness of this experience, simultaneous There are those experiences in life that when we look back have somehow come to define our life journey. For "Madman in the Woods" author Jamie Gehring, one of those experiences is the subject of her work here as "Madman in the Woods: Life Next Door to the Unabomber" explores a childhood spent living in the deep woods of Montana with Ted Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber, as her family's closest neighbor. "Madman in the Woods" vividly captures the uniqueness of this experience, simultaneously humanizing Kaczynski while also attempting to reconcile this man who would display occasional kindnesses, especially toward her, with the man who would also become known as the longest active domestic terrorist in U.S. history who would eventually be known as responsible for mailing explosives to strangers that would kill three and wound 23 others before his 1996 capture and subsequent eight lifetime prison sentence that is being served at Colorado's notorious Supermax. One can practically feel the psychological wheels turning for Gehring in "Madman in the Woods," a book that spends nearly as much time processing Gehring's own unique childhood as it does Kaczynski's connection to it. While "Madman in the Woods" does, at least on some level, humanize Kaczynski it does not, it must be acknowledged, romanticize or excuse him. "Madman in the Woods" plays out like a psychological drama, a young woman forced to look at the distorted innocence of youth when it's realized that the same odd hermit who brought her painted rocks as a gift in childhood was also far more menacing than initially realized to locals who conflicted with his worldviews and who was also, quite simply, a killer who actively desired to kill far more than he was able to kill with his destructive yet often crude bombs. The book paints a portrait of a young man whose genius was obvious early on, though his inconsistent childhood left him ill-prepared emotionally and developmentally to deal with his childhood, his parents, his genius, and his remarkable promise. Entering Harvard at age 16, Kaczynski was thrust into a world for which he had almost no coping skills and it became a world that altered a psyche that was already a bit distorted. From failed attempts at relationships to work experiences that would implode when those around him failed to live up to his standard, it seems almost inevitable that Kaczynski was headed toward a different sort of life but few could imagine it would include a path of destruction. "Madman in the Woods" finds Gehring trying to reconcile this chasm of different life experiences, an effort both internally and externally realized. The book finds Gehring's research, admittedly a term I find somewhat loosely utilized here, to include established correspondence with those who investigated the Unabomber, those who were impacted, Kaczynski's former friends and family and, yes, finally Kaczynski himself as he would even respond to her inquiries. "Madman in the Woods" is an engaging read, a book both intelligently realized and emotionally resonant with a deep core of heart amidst all of its fact-finding. As "Madman in the Woods" begins to wind down it becomes, at least for me, a little too procedural in nature as I found myself most enthralled by Gehring's vivid descriptions of her Montana life with an eccentric oddball nearby who was never quite friendly but was often sociable enough for his eccentricities to be dismissed and for him to be welcomed into the Gehring family home. How do you reconcile it when everything you thought you understood about your childhood turns out to be a combination of rose-colored glasses and based upon unrealized truths? This question is at the heart of "Madman in the Woods" and Gehring explores her own answers with intelligence, insight, honesty, and heart in a book that doesn't necessarily reveal a lot of new information about Kaczynski but adds layers of depth to its meaning. "Madman in the Woods: Life Next Door to the Unabomber" will be released in April 2022 by Diversion Books.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laurann

    Jamie Gehring takes a fascinating look back at her childhood neighbor - Ted Kaczynski. Jamie looks at her family's relationship with the hermit living down the path from them in rural Montana. She talks to those who knew him during that time and attempts to see if there were signs from around the time of the bombings. The people she interviews are open and real about their experiences and the pain that Kaczynski brought into their lives. This is a book best enjoyed at a slower pace. I did find m Jamie Gehring takes a fascinating look back at her childhood neighbor - Ted Kaczynski. Jamie looks at her family's relationship with the hermit living down the path from them in rural Montana. She talks to those who knew him during that time and attempts to see if there were signs from around the time of the bombings. The people she interviews are open and real about their experiences and the pain that Kaczynski brought into their lives. This is a book best enjoyed at a slower pace. I did find myself needing some time to really process what I was reading. A difficult subject matter that was handled wonderfully.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cristi Marashi

    I can't even begin to imagine what the Gehring family must have gone through when finding out who they thought was just their eccentric hermit neighbor know as "Teddy" was in fact the elusive Uniabomber. Jamie Gehring takes us both through her family life next door to Ted Kaczynski, and how her dad helped the FBI in their pursuit and eventual capture of one of the worst and longest acting criminals in history. This book is detailed and has experts from some of the victims' families, so it's not I can't even begin to imagine what the Gehring family must have gone through when finding out who they thought was just their eccentric hermit neighbor know as "Teddy" was in fact the elusive Uniabomber. Jamie Gehring takes us both through her family life next door to Ted Kaczynski, and how her dad helped the FBI in their pursuit and eventual capture of one of the worst and longest acting criminals in history. This book is detailed and has experts from some of the victims' families, so it's not for the faint of heart.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Taken from personal encounters with Ted Kaczynski, the author shares what Ted was like growing up as a neighbor and all the quirky habits that made him an interesting and odd child. At times the author shares much of her own childhood in the beginning I found myself wanting to hear more about Ted’s life but I believe it was preparing the reader for what it was like to have known such a madman at such a vulnerable age. There is a great deal of research the author provided about Ted and it truly i Taken from personal encounters with Ted Kaczynski, the author shares what Ted was like growing up as a neighbor and all the quirky habits that made him an interesting and odd child. At times the author shares much of her own childhood in the beginning I found myself wanting to hear more about Ted’s life but I believe it was preparing the reader for what it was like to have known such a madman at such a vulnerable age. There is a great deal of research the author provided about Ted and it truly is crazy how his mind worked! Definitely worth the read if you are a true crime lover!! I appreciate Net Galley and the publisher providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Madhushree Ghosh

    What a refreshing take on a child's memory of living next door to the Unabomber! Jamie Gehring addresses what the Unabomber represented to the common public head on, and then takes us on this fascinating journey with details research notes, interviews with family members, friends, his brother as well as her own family's recollection of a man who was intelligent, slightly weird, and then ultimately a murderer. The pace of the work, and the author's own recollections is quick, gripping and unsenti What a refreshing take on a child's memory of living next door to the Unabomber! Jamie Gehring addresses what the Unabomber represented to the common public head on, and then takes us on this fascinating journey with details research notes, interviews with family members, friends, his brother as well as her own family's recollection of a man who was intelligent, slightly weird, and then ultimately a murderer. The pace of the work, and the author's own recollections is quick, gripping and unsentimental--which makes for an amazing read and gives us, the reader a great insight into what happens when a 'madman' takes others' lives in his own hands.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Rolland

    A fascinating look into the backstory and psychology of a "madman," intermingled with the author's own recollections from her childhood. While I'm not typically a true crime reader, I found this truly engaging throughout, as the author takes us into the landscape of the Unabomber both in the physical and psychological senses. I especially appreciated the lyrical, poetic quality of the writing, which made this enjoyable to read, with moments of beauty and/or surprise on nearly every page. Clearly A fascinating look into the backstory and psychology of a "madman," intermingled with the author's own recollections from her childhood. While I'm not typically a true crime reader, I found this truly engaging throughout, as the author takes us into the landscape of the Unabomber both in the physical and psychological senses. I especially appreciated the lyrical, poetic quality of the writing, which made this enjoyable to read, with moments of beauty and/or surprise on nearly every page. Clearly, this was a story that needed to be written and that the author was perfectly positioned to write.

  25. 4 out of 5

    C.G. Twiles

    Imagine growing up with one of the world's most notorious serial killers as your next door neighbor. Your family had him over for dinner. He carved wooden gifts for you when you were a child. You regularly ran into him in the woods on your enormous Montana property. He regularly came knocking at your door to ask the time. If you are author Jamie Gehring you need not imagine any of this, because Gehring grew up with the Unabomber (Ted Kaczinski) as her next door neighbor. Gehring's book is part " Imagine growing up with one of the world's most notorious serial killers as your next door neighbor. Your family had him over for dinner. He carved wooden gifts for you when you were a child. You regularly ran into him in the woods on your enormous Montana property. He regularly came knocking at your door to ask the time. If you are author Jamie Gehring you need not imagine any of this, because Gehring grew up with the Unabomber (Ted Kaczinski) as her next door neighbor. Gehring's book is part "child of nature" memoir, part coming of age, and part "bats**t crazy" neighbor story. She is an excellent writer who is clear, concise, and often lyrical. Anyone obsessed with the Unabomber's particular brand of evil should definitely pick this up. However, I will say that it appears that pretty much anyone who ever came into contact with Kaczinski has written a book about it. Did this one add value to the canon? I'm not sure as I haven't read the others, but I did get the feeling that much of what Gehring wrote had already been covered. Still, as a wife, mother, and former neighbor, she did have sharp insight. And we get some stories that truly showed how deeply disturbed this man was - such as that he routinely would kill his neighbors' dogs, including Gehring's. (Kaczinski was pathologically adverse to noise, something that helped fuel his "rage against the machine." Barking dogs were doomed. And dogs did not like him.) It was also interesting to hear that Gehring's family could have easily found themselves on the wrong end of one of Kaczinski's bombs - his diaries reveal that he loathed the family (which owned a noisy sawmill destroying Ted's precious forest) and came close to killing the author's stepmother and half-sister. That said, sometimes the book felt stuffed with filler. Gehring will spend 200 pages showing us something and then do little "roundups" where she tells us the same thing again, even though we've already read it. Or hammers the reader with painfully obvious conclusions a la "There are many dangers in the wilds of Montana: mountain lions, bears, and in this case, a violent domestic terrorist." Which would be fine if this was the first page of the book, but it comes 70% in. We already know all this. In conclusion, Unabomber aficionados will either love this or find it redundant. Those interested in "growing up in the wilderness" memoirs may like this too. Definitely worth a read. Thank you to Net Galley, the publisher, and Jamie Gehring.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a eARC copy in exchange for an honest review. Madman in the Woods took me longer than usual to read. The beginning made me wary that this was a story written by someone on the distant periphery of the incident. There are books I've read where the author's involvement was minimal and greatly exaggerated. Gehring was somewhat periphery, but her closeness with her family and her community makes up for some of that. The rest is supplemented by her research, c Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a eARC copy in exchange for an honest review. Madman in the Woods took me longer than usual to read. The beginning made me wary that this was a story written by someone on the distant periphery of the incident. There are books I've read where the author's involvement was minimal and greatly exaggerated. Gehring was somewhat periphery, but her closeness with her family and her community makes up for some of that. The rest is supplemented by her research, combing through FBI files, court records, Kaczynski's own writings, and interviewing investigators. Gehring's roots in the story run deep. The land Kaczynski resided upon was sold from a parcel owned by Gehring's grandfather. Her mother and father built a cabin nearby and were Ted's closest neighbors. When Gehring was an infant Ted came over for dinner and games and held her a handful of times. As she grew, Ted brought her small gifts. When her parents divorced and she spent summers with her father, her encounters lessened significantly. She was not in Lincoln when he was arrested. True crime written as narrative nonfiction is my preferred way of consuming the genre. Gehring did a good job of balancing her personal experiences, interviews, and Kaczynski's own words through diaries entries. Once I started getting into the thick of the plot, it was difficult to put Madman in the Woods down. The Unabomber has never held a ton of interest for me. Domestic terrorism is somehow much harder to read than accounts of serial killers, maybe because it is so much more prevalent in our day-to-day in the United States. But Gehring's humanization of this story - from the Lincoln community, Kaczynski's family, the bombing victims, and Kaczynski himself - is really what makes this story. Give this a go if you're a fan of Ann Rule or I'll Be Gone in the Dark. There is a mild amount of gore in the chapter surrounding the victims so this might be a great read for someone you know who is not into true crime.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Socraticgadfly

    The editorial blurb sums it up — this is not a "true crime" book and there are no big new revelations about Ted Kaczynski in general. Rather, it's very much a human interest story about the girl next door who grew up next door to the Unabomber. She clearly does her best to take Ted sympathetically, noting that a babyhood illness and hospital isolation might have been a major contributing factor to his adult personality. But, she avoids getting even close to something like Stockholm Syndrome. Inter The editorial blurb sums it up — this is not a "true crime" book and there are no big new revelations about Ted Kaczynski in general. Rather, it's very much a human interest story about the girl next door who grew up next door to the Unabomber. She clearly does her best to take Ted sympathetically, noting that a babyhood illness and hospital isolation might have been a major contributing factor to his adult personality. But, she avoids getting even close to something like Stockholm Syndrome. Interspersing her childhood memories with both specific meetings with Kaczynski and specific extracts from his diary about what he was doing when she was 8, 10, 12, etc., plus the role her dad played in his capture. Personal side note: I have been in the Lincoln area, though I am not sure I was in Lincoln itself, on my one adult trip to Glacier National Park and nearby areas. (I camped one night in the Swan Lake area.)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Glen

    I won this book in a goodreads drawing. A woman who knew the Unabomber as a girl, tries to sort out what happened and how she feels about the whole thing. These days, he'd be known as an incel. It's interesting that the author seems to continually trying to put him in a box, but can never quite make it fit. I won this book in a goodreads drawing. A woman who knew the Unabomber as a girl, tries to sort out what happened and how she feels about the whole thing. These days, he'd be known as an incel. It's interesting that the author seems to continually trying to put him in a box, but can never quite make it fit.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Katie | murderino_reads

    Very much enjoyed reading about Jamie’s experience of she and her family sharing the wild Montana woods surrounding their family home with the Unabomber. Equally filled with emotion, memories, and well-founded research and facts. Jamie did a great job navigating and weaving together her own complex feelings and memories involving Ted K., his crimes, her family’s perceived place in all those years of deceit and destruction, and victim stories. I was grateful to be visually transported to the Mont Very much enjoyed reading about Jamie’s experience of she and her family sharing the wild Montana woods surrounding their family home with the Unabomber. Equally filled with emotion, memories, and well-founded research and facts. Jamie did a great job navigating and weaving together her own complex feelings and memories involving Ted K., his crimes, her family’s perceived place in all those years of deceit and destruction, and victim stories. I was grateful to be visually transported to the Montana wilderness, and hooked by Jamie’s exploration of the hunt for this serial bomber. Highly recommend!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Piepie

    Captivating! A truly unique story written by a woman who, as a little girl, lived just yards away from a man who held the nation in terror as the "Unabomber". You won't believe her crazy story. If you're a true crime fan, it's a must-read. Thank you, Kate Rock Book Tours, for my e-copy! Captivating! A truly unique story written by a woman who, as a little girl, lived just yards away from a man who held the nation in terror as the "Unabomber". You won't believe her crazy story. If you're a true crime fan, it's a must-read. Thank you, Kate Rock Book Tours, for my e-copy!

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