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Author discusses new Branch Davidian book

March 24, 1997

By Elizabeth Case

Lariat Reporter

Five years have passed since the incident at Mount Carmel, and Joe Robert has relived it every day.

Robert, a resident of nearby Axtell, is the author of the book Beyond the Flames , an account of the events that led to the stand-off and raid of the Branch Davidian Compound in February of 1993.

Robert, who wrote under the pen name J.J. Robertson as a tribute to his father and uncle, said that his book is set apart from other books about David Koresh and the tragedy, because it contains information on the origin of the Branch Davidian church that was obtained from the actual church files.

Robert also included eyewitness accounts from survivors of the raid and from his own experiences as a volunteer for the Salvation Army.

Robert, who was under-going rehabilitation for a work-related injury, had free time on his hands. He volunteered the night of February 28 to serve drinks and snacks to law enforcement and media personnel.

His involvement allowed him to pass through the blockades that brought him up to approximately 1,500 yards from the law enforcement command center.

Robert said that the book offers his theories as to why the raid took place and interviews with individuals who were never questioned by investigators.

He photographed the events as they unfolded at the compound, and of the 104 pictures in the book, 100 have never been seen before, Robert said.

Beyond the Flames is available at Hastings in Waco and the Helen Marie Taylor Museum of Waco History. The book can also be ordered by calling 1-800-295-3737 or visiting Robert's web site at

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