The Feds

FBI Thought William T. Vollmann Was the Unabomber

William T. Vollmann, who won the 2005 National Book Award for his novel Europe Central, revealed in an new essay in Harper’s that he was detained by the FBI on suspicion of being the Unabomber and, later on, responsible for the 2001 anthrax attacks. An anonymous tip to the agency cited Vollmann’s ownership of “many guns and a flamethrower" and Unabomber-esque “pride of authorship.” Though the author said he “would love to own a flamethrower," he was troubled by the unexplained invasion of his privacy, saying in an interview on NPR that “were I to be shown in accurate detail why it was necessary for me to be kept under surveillance, possibly for the rest of my life, I might be able to accept these invasions of my privacy for the collective good."