Douglas must have been a riveting instructor at Quantico. He can explain the differences among serial and spree killers and mass murderers, among arsonists and bombers, among the many criminals we ignore until they do too much damage too close to home, in language the layperson can understand. He peppers his "lectures" with enough real cases to keep our attentionreal cases, after all, are the reason a reader chooses a book by John Douglas instead of a novel. Douglas's supposed arrogance aside, he tells a darn good story.
From legendary FBI profiler John Douglas and Mark Olshaker-authors of the nonfiction international bestsellers Mindhunter, Journey into Darkness, and Obsession -- comes an unprecedented, insightful look at the root of all crime.
Every crime is a mystery story with a motive at its heart. With the brilliant insight he brought to his renowned work inside the FBI's elite serial-crime unit, John Douglas pieces together motives behind violent sociopathic behavior. He not only takes us into the darkest recesses of the minds of arsonists, hijackers, bombers, poisoners, assissins, serial killers, and mass murderers, but also the seemingly ordinary people who suddenly kill their families or go on a rampage in the workplace.
Douglas identifies the antisocial personality, showing surprising similarities and differences among variouis types of deadly offenders. He also tracks the progressive escalation of those criminals' sociopathic behavior. His analysis of such diverse killers as Lee Harvey Oswald, Theodore Kaczynski, and Timothy McVeigh is gripping, but more importantly, helps us learn how to anticipate potential violent behavior beore it's too late.
From Publishers Weekly
A volume of case studies by Douglas, the former chief profiler at the FBI's legendary behavioral sciences unit, and Olshaker has become an annual event, from 1995's Mind Hunter to last year's Obsession. Here, the duo exhume the victims of Andrew Cunanan, Charles Whitman, Theodore Kaczynski and many others for insight into the killers' minds. Douglas's formula is deceptively simple: "WHY? + HOW? = WHO." But since serial killers are rarely caught through profiling, the formula is better expressed as "WHO + HOW = WHY." Douglas is tops in the field. He was among the first to suggest that the Atlanta child murderer was African-American, and he delivered a dead-on profile of Scottish mass-murderer Thomas Watt Hamilton on live TV based on preliminary news accounts. Still, most of what's here will be familiar to readers of other profiling books: the lonely white male with an obsessive sense of his own failure who tortured animals, wet his bed and played with matches as a child. Though Douglas promises to explain the differences among bombers, arsonists, shooters, cutters and stranglers, his profiles too often cleave to predictable, reductive formulations. Both Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby are characterized as "paranoid losers"; Timothy McVeigh is "a scrawny, pissed-off young hick." As always, Douglas and Olshaker deliver an entertaining read, but fewer case studies presented with more depth would better inform and educate the amateur profiler. (June)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
If you are into non-fiction crime novels this book is for you. I had to get this book for my Criminology class and at first was a bit hesitant (since I'm the romance type) but I was in a sense forced to read it and it was a very interesting book to my surprise. I also went to a seminar that these two gentlemen spoke at. Its amazing, yet creepy how some one can be so good at their job that they can get inside the minds of some serious criminals. It describes some of the crimes and then the catch. I felt there was a little to much showboating, but I guess when your as good as he is then you have that right. So it is a very interesting criminal minds book worth the time to read even if you don't have to read it for a class.