An American Bombing Review | An Urgent Wake-Up Call to American Extremism



  • An American Bombing: The Road to April nineteenth
    dispels the lone wolf narrative of McVeigh’s crimes, connecting them to bigger white supremacist actions in America.
  • Starting with victims like Kathy Sanders, the movie portrays the horrific affect of the Oklahoma City bombing, emphasizing the necessity for understanding.
  • An American Bombing
    showcases the ability of forgiveness within the face of hate, offering a path ahead from the darkness of home terrorism.

29 years in the past, the United States was ceaselessly modified by an unconscionable act of homegrown home terrorism when Gulf War veteran Timothy McVeigh bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal constructing in Oklahoma City. The act — which remains to be essentially the most deadly act of home terrorism dedicated inside the US — was born from a listing of grievances each actual and imagined that McVeigh and plenty of like him had stewed on for years. Given the assault’s horrific end result, the story of the Oklahoma City bombing has been pored over by victims, journalists, authorities officers, and students alike, most not too long ago within the HBO movie An American Bombing: The Road to April nineteenth.

From Blowback Productions duo Marc Levin and Daphne Pinkerson and produced by Katie Couric, An American Bombing: The Road to April nineteenth is the newest try to unpack McVeigh’s crimes. Through archival footage of the occasion and people main as much as it, in addition to skilled testimony from journalists, historians, and victims, the HBO documentary (streaming on Max) parses by means of the horrific particulars of the Oklahoma City bombing and its origins within the bigger white energy motion in America following the warfare in Vietnam. The documentary expertly explains not solely what occurred that day, however how we acquired there, and the way shut are we to getting there once more, or have we already?

An American Bombing Puts Victims First

An American Bombing The Road to April 19th

An American Bombing: The Road to April nineteenth


Release Date
April 16, 2024

Marc Levin

Bill Clinton , Mike Boettcher , Kathleen Belew , Jeffrey Toobin

77 Minutes

Blowback Productions, HBO Documentary Films



  • A benchmark research of Timothy McVeigh and white nationalists.
  • The movie lets victims inform their story however can be meticulously detailed and informative.
  • The historic scope and message of forgiveness are highly effective.

  • The movie ought to’ve explored the function of the media in extremism.

An American Bombing opens on the morning of April 19, 1995, mere moments earlier than McVeigh’s truck bomb exploded. We begin not on the federal constructing, however as a substitute with grandmother Kathy Sanders as she remembers the place she was within the hours main as much as the bombing: getting her younger grandsons, Colton and Chase, prepared for daycare. As Sanders’ narration performs over dwelling video footage of the 2 boys, the sense of pure dread is palpable. It’s apparent what comes subsequent, and but, the emotional affect of their loss isn’t any much less gut-wrenching.

There’s an explosive minimize to the chaos of that morning, to the moments simply after the bomb discharged, when Oklahoma City momentarily turned one thing out of an lively warfare zone. As journalist Mike Boettcher remembers considering that day, “This can’t happen here.” But it did. 168 individuals died that day, together with 19 kids. It’s totally horrifying to look at, however revisiting this footage of demise and destruction, of damaged our bodies and shattered hearts, have to be carried out if the teachings An American Bombing hopes to convey are to be really discovered.


Best True Crime Documentaries on Max

HBO pioneered the artwork of true crime many years in the past. Let’s check out what streaming service Max has to supply in that regard.

Many viewers might by no means have seen this footage, and beginning with it cements absolutely the terror that McVeigh and others had been in a position to inflict upon harmless civilians of their quest for some skewed sense of justice. Starting with the horror, and with the victims who bear in mind their loss as if it simply occurred, makes it clear that none of what follows is supposed to decrease what McVeigh did, however to elucidate it inside a bigger context of homegrown hate.

Through the Storm of White Supremacy

In the years following McVeigh’s crime, we collectively allowed the terrorist’s narrative to change into actuality: aside from coconspirators Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier, McVeigh was a lone wolf. This, although, is hardly the case, a false narrative that An American Bombing goals to right. Because whereas the Oklahoma City bombing was carried out by simply these males, it existed inside the bigger context of white supremacist actions in America.

The documentary thus follows the historical past of those actions, from the First Wave in 1983 following the return of Vietnam veterans and the Farm Crisis of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Tracing the grievances of those that had been misled and seemingly left behind by their authorities, it’s clear how simply white energy “patriots” stepped in and unfold their hateful worldview inside this damaged and prepared group. Most infamous amongst these white supremacists was Louis Beam, Jr., the primary main proponent of leaderless resistance inside the white energy motion.

Related: The Best HBO Documentaries Streaming on HBO Max

An American Bombing Dismantles the Lone Wolf Narrative

Following the Fort Smith sedition trial in 1988, An American Bombing strikes subsequent to the Second Wave in 1990. The lasting results of the Farm Crisis and the decline of American trade had been felt deeply amongst many, together with a younger Timothy McVeigh.

The authorities didn’t simply seemingly fail in these areas, although; the swirling miasma of Reagan’s War on Drugs fueled a militarization of the federal authorities that resulted in tragedy. The disastrous responses from the FBI and ATF at each Ruby Ridge in 1992 and Waco in 1993 had been good fodder for white supremacist teams desirous to push the narrative that the federal government was uncontrolled and that “patriots” had been those who may put an finish to their tyrannical reign.


The 11 All-Time Best Documentaries About Racism

Racism is unfortunately nonetheless prevalent at this time, and these documentaries function eye-opening narratives that debate the problem.

An American Bombing excellently traces the connections between McVeigh and the white supremacist teams he was related to, successfully exploring his journey by means of the lens of the ideological actions that bore him. Rather than the lone wolf narrative that McVeigh eagerly perpetuated regardless of the recommendation of his authorized counsel, the Oklahoma City bomber was impressed by his ideological predecessors and arguably guided by their invisible arms. The documentary additionally explores the query of the federal government’s foreknowledge of the assault, and overtly wonders what may need been carried out in another way on that entrance.

Did Timothy McVeigh Win?

The memorial for the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing as seen in An American Bombing: The Road to April 19th. 

An American Bombing ends with the Third Wave of American white supremacist actions, centered particularly across the January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot. The grievances of the previous have reworked, however make no mistake: the actions that made up the majority of the rioters on January sixth come from the identical ideological vein as McVeigh.

In reorienting the narrative of the Oklahoma City bombing towards McVeigh’s white supremacist progenitors, An American Bombing pulls viewers away from the lone wolf narrative in a means that’s vital for understanding fashionable assaults of leaderless resistance. But is that this sufficient? In a contentious election yr when the political speaking factors echo these from these actions, the place disinformation and misinformation unfold like wildfire, is this sort of factor sufficient to maneuver the needle with the individuals who want to listen to it most?

There’s one other component that maybe may and will have been mentioned: the function of the media in these instances. Whether it’s excessive media that radicalizes audiences or mainstream sources hyper-focused on getting in entrance of a sensational story, there’s a query of what function these proceed to play in our ideological panorama that An American Bombing doesn’t adequately tackle.


The 23 Best Documentary Films of 2023, Ranked

Documentaries had been the one style and medium that flourished absolutely in 2023. These are the very best documentary films of the yr.

The Victims Offer a Path Toward Redemption

Kathy Sanders, grandmother to two of the children killed in the Oklahoma City bombing, in An American Bombing: The Road to April 19th. 

An American Bombing is framed by the victims, particularly by Kathy Sanders and her household. As a staunch advocate for victims’ rights and a believer that McVeigh’s terrorism wasn’t born in a vacuum, Sanders has fought tirelessly to search out the reality behind what precisely occurred that day. It is from her that An American Bombing reveals maybe its most vital message: the ability of forgiveness.

While the documentary doesn’t provide a path ahead from the hate that continues to contaminate our political discourse, nor does it recommend that forgiveness is our solely device towards that hate, An American Bombing does provide a clearer image of the place that hate comes from. And possibly that information, mixed with forgiveness, in all of our arms, could be sufficient within the combat for a greater future. From HBO Documentary Films,An American Bombing: The Road to April nineteenth premiered April nineteenth, and is streaming on Max by means of the hyperlink beneath.

Watch An American Bombing


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here