There But for the Grace of God Author:Fred Rosen They stared into the faces of pure evil . . . and survived! Ted Bundy . . . Jeffrey Dahmer . . . David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz . . . Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer . . . These are some of the names that strike terror into even the bravest of hearts. Human monsters, they preyed upon the unsuspecting, freely feeding their terrible hungers. Their crim... more »es were unspeakable, as they maimed, tortured, killed, and killed again, leaving so many dead in their bloody wake. But somehow, astonishingly, seven would-be victims fell into the clutches of the century's worst serial killers--and escaped death through courage, divine providence, or just plain luck. This is the remarkable true story of those who lived.« less
A product of my culture, I've been morbidly fascinated by serial killers from a very young age. As chance would have it, Dahmer's last murder attempt happened on my tenth birthday, and I remember reading about it a few years later in a book called The Milwaukee Murders. So when I saw this book on the shelf, my interests were again piqued.
I have to say I can't give the best review. I was hoping for detailed depictions from the survivors. Instead, each chapter (one for each survivor) begins with some local trivia, Rosen setting the scene for his meeting with the survivors, an extremely brief run-down of the serial killer's victims and/or MO and finally a brief description of how the survivor got away. Truth be told, he didn't even meet face-to-face with all the survivors as some of them couldn't be found.
All in all, the actual stories of the survivors are brief and require little more than a few pages each. The book is written in a very simplistic manner, making it an easy read for anyone, but I was put-off by Rosen's constant judgements and assignments of "the good guys" and "the bad guys" and his application of the word "evil." It made the read feel preachy at times.
But if you're looking for a brief intro to serial killer true crime, this book is definitely a good place to start and for that it might very well reserve a place on my bookshelf.
I was expecting this book to be more about the survivors, but it turned out to be too much about the actual killers. I guess the author in a sense felt that he needed to recap each story for those who might not be familiar w/ it or just simply forgot, but I just didn't like it. Especially when he dedicated over 10 pages of his closing notes on Dahmer's brain and BTK's letters! What do any of those things have to do with their survivors?
I wish he would have had more info on how these events affected each survivor and how (if in any) way did this change how they live their lives today..
Way too much space devoted to Rosen's liberal prejudices. Way too much time spent mocking and painting as rubes the few people who consented to waste their time being interviewed. Way too much time padding stories and misquoting facts. Rosen was lazy on this one, and my opinion of him as even a mid-level crime writer has truly dropped. One of my interests when I got the book was hearing how survivors have matured through the years and what they honestly think about how the crimes they lived through affected them. What Rosen delivered was his opinion on how they'd handled things and demeaning comments about their current jobs or life situations. A major disappointment was that he devoted a chapter to the sole survivor of Richard Speck - yet claimed he wasn't even able to track her down. Why would one tell this woman's story with no material in a book advertised as tales of the survivors? Just to show that one is a lazy researcher? If I want to hear someone make fun of fashions or food in my neck of the woods, mock WalMart workers, or trivialize nervous habits, I can get that without buying a book.