Maximum Harm by Michele R. McPhee
The Tsarnaev Brothers, the FBI, and the Road to the Marathon Bombing

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Maximum Harm is a difficult book to read in the best sense. McPhee spares no opportunity in putting the reader front and center of the bombing as well as the family dynamics which play the major part of how—maybe not why—the brothers chose to build a bomb and set it off.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

In Maximum Harm, veteran investigative journalist Michele R. McPhee unravels the complex story behind the public facts of the Boston Marathon bombing. She examines the bombers’ roots in Dagestan and Chechnya, their struggle to assimilate in America, and their growing hatred of the United States—a deepening antagonism that would prompt federal prosecutors to dub Dzhokhar Tsarnaev “America's worst nightmare.” The difficulties faced by the Tsarnaev family of Cambridge, Massachusetts, are part of the public record. Circumstances less widely known are the FBI’s recruitment of the older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, as a “mosque crawler” to inform on radical separatists here and in Chechnya; the tracking down and killing of radical Islamic separatists during the six months he spent in Russia—travel that raised eyebrows, since he was on several terrorist watchlists; the FBI’s botched deals and broken promises with regard to his immigration; and the disenchantment, rage, and growing radicalization of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, along with their mother, sisters, and Tamerlan’s wife, Katherine.

Maximum Harm is also a compelling examination of the Tsarnaev brothers’ movements in the days leading up to the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013, the subsequent investigation, the Tsarnaevs’ murder of MIT police officer Sean Collier, the high-speed chase and shootout that killed Tamerlan, and the manhunt in which the authorities finally captured Dzhokhar, hiding in a Watertown backyard. McPhee untangles the many threads of circumstance, coincidence, collusion, motive, and opportunity that resulted in the deadliest attack on the city of Boston to date.
 

About Michele R. McPhee

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Michele R. McPhee is the bestselling author of A Professor's Rage, A Mob Story, A Date with Death, and When Evil Rules—all available from St. Martin’s Paperbacks. The former award-winning Police Bureau Chief for the New York Daily News, she was the courts and crime reporter for the Boston Herald where she is now a columnist. Currently she is a New England correspondent for ABC News and a Fox 25 TV contributor. A Date With Death was the basis for a Lifetime TV movie that aired in January 2011. She was also story consultant for the Lifetime movie “Who Is Clark Rockefeller?” that aired in 2010.  McPhee’s true crime stories have appeared in more than a dozen national magazines, including Maxim, Stuff, Cosmopolitan, New York, ESPN the Magazine, Gotham, Manhattan File, and other international publications. She was the host of two Court TV Mugshot specials and her reporting is also featured in the A&E TV special Crime Ink, and the Discovery series called Rats. Her journalism has taken her to crime scenes across the country and has made her a commentator on breaking news for CNN, MSNBC, and the Fox News Network. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
 
Published April 4, 2017 by ForeEdge. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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NY Journal of Books

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Reviewed by Geri Spieler on Apr 03 2017

Maximum Harm is a difficult book to read in the best sense. McPhee spares no opportunity in putting the reader front and center of the bombing as well as the family dynamics which play the major part of how—maybe not why—the brothers chose to build a bomb and set it off.

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