Northern Illinois University Press


John Doe No. 2 and the Dreamland Motel

Kenneth  Womack

“An engaging read. Addresses issues of domestic terrorism that are still significant today in the national debate. Womack’s novel leaves us with the poignantly uneasy reminder that it is not that hard to become a fallen Quaker or a fallen war hero.” —Ray Petersen, author of Cowkind and editor of Drummed Out

“This story was a pleasure to read, an uncomfortable, guilty pleasure. Funny and frightening, with an ingenious premise. Imaginatively allusive ... not only is the book an homage to the work of Mark Twain, but there are so many contemporary cultural allusions—to computer games, news events, books, rock music, and celebrities.” —Jim Gorman, author of Will Work for Food

On April 19, 1995, a truck bomb exploded just outside of Oklahoma City’s Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people. Within a matter of hours, the FBI launched the largest manhunt in U.S. history, identifying the suspects as Timothy James McVeigh and John Doe No. 2, a stocky twentysomething with a distinctive tattoo on his left arm. Eventually the FBI retracted the elusive mystery man as a bombing suspect altogether, proclaiming that McVeigh had acted alone and that John Doe No. 2 was the by-product of unreliable eyewitness testimony in the wake of the attack. Womack recreates the events that led up to this fateful day from the perspective of John Doe No. 2—or JD, as he is referred to in the book. With his ironic and curiously detached persona, JD narrates—from a second-person point of view—his secret life with McVeigh, Terry Nichols, and others in America’s underground militia culture as McVeigh and JD crisscross the Midwest in McVeigh’s beloved Chevy Geo Spectrum. John Doe No. 2 and the Dreamland Motel is the tragicomic account of McVeigh’s last desperate months of freedom as he prepared to unleash one of the deadliest acts of domestic terrorism in the nation’s history. Womack’s novel traces one man’s downward spiral toward the act of evil that branded his name in infamy and another’s desperate hope to save his friend’s soul before it’s too late.

(2010) 204 pp.
ISBN 978-0-87580-640-2
paper 13.95t

Kenneth Womack is Professor of English and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Penn State University’s Altoona College. He is the author of numerous works of nonfiction, including Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles.

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-640-2
John Doe No.2 and the Dreamland Motel $13.95