The Suspect - An Olympic Bombing, the FBI, the Media, and Richard Jewell, the Man Caught in the Middle
By Kent Alexander & Kevin Salwen
On July 27, 1996, a hapless former cop turned hypervigilant security guard named Richard Jewell spotted a suspicious bag in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park, the town square of the 1996 Summer Games. Inside was a bomb, the largest of its kind in FBI and ATF history. Minutes later, the bomb detonated amid a crowd of fifty thousand people. But the damage was minimized thanks to Jewell. However, within seventy-two hours, Jewell went from the hero to the FBI’s main suspect. The news leaked and the intense focus on the guard forever changed his life. The worst part: It let the true bomber roam free to strike again. What really happened that evening during the Olympic Games? The attack left a mark on American history, but much of what we remember is wrong. In a triumph of reporting and access in the tradition of the best investigative journalism, The Suspect (Abrams Press; December 1, 2020; U.S. $17.00; Paperback) reconstructs all the events leading up to, during, and after the Olympic bombing from mountains of law enforcement evidence and the extensive personal records of key players, including Jewell himself. This is a gripping story of the rise of domestic terrorism in America, the advent of the 24/7 news cycle, and an innocent man’s fight to clear his name. A remarkable book, it will radically transform your understanding of the events that changed American history.
Kevin Salwen is the co-author, with former US Attorney Kent Alexander, of The Suspect: An Olympic Bombing, the FBI, the Media, and Richard Jewell, the Man Caught in the Middle, released in late 2019.
Kevin was a reporter, columnist, and editor at the Wall Street Journal for 18 years. At the nation’s largest newspaper, he covered two presidential administrations, wrote two columns and launched two publications. After leaving the paper in 2000, Kevin built several media companies, consulted to the U.S. Olympic Committee and Yahoo, and wrote (along with his then-teenaged daughter, Hannah) The Power of Half: One Family’s Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back.
In 2016, Kevin and his wife Joan were fellows at Stanford University’s Distinguished Careers Institute. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Kevin has served as board chair of Year Up Atlanta, on the board of Habitat for Humanity in Atlanta for 13 years, and is a recipient of the Service to Society Award from his alma mater, Northwestern University.
Kevin and his wife, Joan, now live on the Big Island of Hawaii. They have two children: Hannah, 28, who lives in New York and works for the NBA, and Joe, 26, a resident of Los Angeles who works for a film production company.
The Suspect is a contributing source for the Warner Bros.’ film Richard Jewell starring Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, Olivia Wilde and Paul Walter Hauser!