A SNIPER IN THE TOWER:
The Charles Whitman Murders
On a sweltering afternoon in 1966, Charles
Whitman ascended the University of Texas Tower with enough firepower to
hold off an army. For the next ninety-six minutes he methodically gunned
down forty-five strangers, killing fourteen. But as shocking as the rampage
that made world headlines -- and the murders of his wife and mother the
night before -- was the smiling photograph on the front page: a handsome,
all-American Eagle Scout and U.S. Marine. A bewildered nation asked: How
could this golden boy be a mass murderer?
At last we have an answer. Sifting through
the facts and firsthand research, Gary Lavergne exposes the darkness behind
Whitman's "golden boy" facade, and the issues this case forced
America to confront: the insanity defense, domestic violence, military
indoctrination, gun control. In his minute-by-minute account of one shattering
day and its aftermath, Lavergne sheds new light on the mass murderers who
have followed in Whitman's bloody footsteps, and the nation changed forever
by their presence.
... Bantam Books
Click on the image to watch video
Gary Lavergne Appears Longhorn Network feature of UT's Tower Memorial Garden
The Longhorn Network, part of the ESPN family of cable stations, recently did a feature on UT's Tower Memorial Garden and Turtle Pond. In 1999 the Garden was dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Tower Tragedy of 1966. In 2007 the University installed a memorial to the victims and their families. He appeared in a documentary in the Tower Garden, which is an area just north of the UT Tower.
AUSTIN (KXAN) - It has been 14 years since Gary Lavergne wrote the book
"A Sniper in the Tower."
With the country's eyes focused on the movie theater shooting in Aurora,
CO, Lavergne's book details every known movement of Charles Whitman in
the days leading up to the Texas Tower shooting.
A crime that set the precedent for mass murder in a public place like the
one that happened Friday.
"The University of Texas tower shooting in 1966 was America's
introduction to mass murder as we think of it today." Click
here to read more
"Reading the authoritative
account of the Whitman case, A Sniper in the Tower by Gary M. Lavergne
-- which was published in 1997, before our recent mass murders -- one feels
it's as much prophecy as history."
Frank Rich in a New
York Times OP-ED Column, September 25, 1999
Sniper in the Tower was first published in hardcover and trade
paperback in April of 1997 by the University of North Texas Press. The
limited hardcover edition sold out in ten days. Today, it is a collectors' item. The only edition currently
available is the UNT Press trade paperback edition. Copies can be purchased
through Amazon.com or BN.com (Barnes and Noble). Any bookstore can order the
trade paperback edition. Just ask for ISBN #1-57441-029-6. Customers can also
purchase a copy directly from Texas A&M University Press by calling
In November of 1999, Bantam, Doubleday and Dell Books released the mass market edition
of A Sniper in the Tower. SNIPER has the distinction of being a book, originally published in hardcover as a
criminal justice/sociology title by an academic press, and reissued as a mass market true crime book. Mike Cox of the Austin American-Statesman
wrote that Gary Lavergne created a "new genre"--true crime with footnotes. It may still be
online or some bookstores, but the edition is sold out and out of print.
Award Winning True Crime
Violet Crown Special Citation for non-fiction.
annual reader's poll
Best book by a local author.