Rushed to press to catch the wave of summer congressional hearings on the Waco debacle, this account by former Texas Monthly senior editor Reavis may raise a few hackles both within the Beltway and beyond. In the course of his reporting, Reavis gained access to a large trove of classified documents: 17,800 pages of transcripts of telephone conversations between government agents and Branch Davidians at Mt. Carmel. These documents, along with government reports, a study of Branch Davidian theology, and interviews with survivors of Waco as well as rivals of Koresh's, lead the author to a surprising conclusion. Contributing to the post-Waco trend charging that we too often scorn religious sects as cults, Reavis writes: ""The people who had lived at Mt. Carmel were more akin to the Shakers and to the Oneida community--parts of today's Americana--than to the members of the Charles Manson cult.