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?
See the world of Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber through the eyes of his young neighbor, Jamie Gehring, while he lived in Lincoln, Montana. Jamie knew him since she was a toddler until his arrest when she was 16.
The story that she shares with us is personal in both a heartfelt and terrifying way. Your heart will warm and then chill one paragraph later. It is such a moving read.
I read Jamie Gehring’s book and then I listened to it on audible because I really enjoyed “Madman in the Woods”. Once I heard she was the audible narrator, I couldn’t wait to hear this Ted Kaczynski story in Jamie’s voice.
She is so heartfelt as the narrator. I was impressed with her on the Netflix Unabomber Documentary, so I knew she was special and had an on air talent.
There were times when I could hear her voice crackling because I could tell she wanted to cry but she was holding it all in. There were other times where I felt her angst so clearly I wanted to jump through my iPad and hug her. I felt her heart. She puts it all out on the paper.
“Madman in the Woods” is loving, touching, creepy and lyrically written. You can sense Jamie Gehring’s wish for a proper understanding to the Unabomber’s crimes and activities.
She researched diligently back as far as his infancy and childhood because she wanted there to be an explanation for what he was doing besides simply being Evil. I felt her hearts cry seeking that answer, just so much as I am sure Ted’s family wished, too.
Wait until you see what a gifted writer she is. Jamie has a certain tempo to her story. I loved how she makes you slow down at certain parts and really listen to what she is saying. I was enamored. She was reminding us how important these parts were to Ted’s story, and to her story!! I would tear up.
This true crime story is written like no other I have read. There is a sense of heart in the undertow of this devastation. The warmth that the author shares breaks your heart. We have to remember that this is not just Ted story; it’s Jamie story of the entire Gehring’s family. It is a story about the victims.
I am honored and touched that she shared her story with us. And I’m sure you will feel the same way.
There are so many books on the Unabomber, this is by far my favorite. I think it’s because of the seriously intimate writing. It’s almost like it can’t quite possibly be real, but it is. That is the significance of the story. Not many of us are neighbors of a killer. She makes this awareness clear.
Also, I’d like to add that this wasn’t a story about the Unabomber written in a clinical fashion like so many others. Jamie writes with such a personal narrative of her memories and interactions with Ted. I felt every emotion as she walked the path of life with him around the same woods she lived.
She also discusses all of her sources, which will easily lead you to more if you choose to fall down the rabbit hole like I was when I found her book.
I am left deeply satisfied now, maybe my quest is over. I have learned so much in her story about the Unabomber. My thirst for knowledge about Ted Kaczynski is fulfilled at the moment. I was addicted, so this is such a relief. I’m so happy I found Jamie’s book.
I will admit that I’m addicted to Jamie Gehring’s solace voice among this tragic story.
I want to say on behalf of the United States, I am very grateful to the Gehring family. And thank you Jamie for opening your world so that we may have a better understanding of America’s most awful terrorist, serial killer, well; Madman in the Woods!
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Jamie Gehring is a Montana native who grew up sharing a backyard with Ted Kaczynski, the man widely known as the Unabomber. She was featured in Netflix’s Unabomber—In His Own Words where she discussed her family’s role in Ted’s capture.
Her childhood was spent in endless exploration of a backyard held in common with the Unabomber—a serial killer obsessed with dismantling technological society.
“Annie’s Antics” Live Interview with guest, Jamie Gehring:
To Keep in Contact with Jamie Gehring-
and of course, her website
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