Buda’s Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb

Mike Davis

Car bombs—and truck bombs and bicycle bombs—are cheap, easy to make, tough to stop and effective. Small wonder their popularity persists. In the past 25 years, they’ve been used in 35 countries, in some cases forcing an invading force to withdraw. Davis recounts such turning points—notably the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983—in concise, vivid language. Buda’s Wagon details the evolution of blast technology and attack strategies. For example, the use of fertilizer—pioneered by Wisconsin college students protesting the Vietnam War—broadened access to car bombs. And the Irish Republican Army learned that explosions in London put more pressure on their opponents than explosions in Belfast—a chilling lesson indeed as news reports continue to cover car bombs in Baghdad.