What makes a serial killer? Only one man really knows. FBI Special Agent and expert in criminal profiling and behavioural science, John Douglas. A man who has looked evil in the eye and made a vocation of understanding it. Now retired, Douglas can let us inside the FBI elite serial crime unit and into the disturbed minds of some of the most savage ...
What makes a serial killer? Only one man really knows. FBI Special Agent and expert in criminal profiling and behavioural science, John Douglas. A man who has looked evil in the eye and made a vocation of understanding it. Now retired, Douglas can let us inside the FBI elite serial crime unit and into the disturbed minds of some of the most savage serial killers in the world. The man who was the inspiration for Special Agent Jack Crawford in The Silence of the Lambs and who lent the film's makers his expertise explains how he invented and established the practice of criminal profiling; what it was like to submerge himself mentally in the world of serial killers to the point of 'becoming' both perpetrator and victim; and individual case histories including those of Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, Ted Bundy and the Atlanta child murders. With the fierce page-turning power of a bestselling novel, yet terrifyingly true, Mindhunter is a true crime classic.
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The book is about the FBI's first serial crime unit and its research of personality development of the worst criminals. It is a good basis if you are into character analysis. I read Hannibal next with a greater understanding of all the "sick" characters in it. But as John Douglas persuaded me, these people are incorrigible. . . .even if I do feel sympathy with how they were raised.
Apr 4, 2007
MINDHUNTER: HUNTING THE WRONG MIND
Having read 'Journey into Darkness' by the same author, I had a fair idea of what to expect when I purchased "Mindhunter". For the most part I was not disappointed. John Douglas makes it all look so very easy until you remember he is writing in hindsight and I must admit that the smugness with which he compares his initial profiles with the eventual convicted murderer is a bit of a turnoff, offset only by the bleak appreciation of the monostrosity of these crimes and the devastating impact on the families of the victims. One wonders how many facets of a given prediction John Douglas doesnt report on if he gets that wrong!
Be that as it may, the book is commendable in not dwelling more than is absolutely necessary to explain the crime that was committed and how elements of that crime served to identify the killer later. Douglas has a tendency to take off on a tangent from one case to another, but this is pretty much the way an ordinary conversation goes, so no great grief there. Perhaps the single thing that did irritate me a bit was the gratuitous personal details that made parts of the book sound like a resume - but then again in the same way that Douglas says one cannot understand a crime without understanding a victimology, perhaps he feels that one cannot understand how the crime was solved without knowing a bit about the profiler.
All in all very readable - not as thorough or as realistic as the Green River Killer or Citizen X, but easier to follow in terms of small detail kept to a minimum for the sake of the main plot.
Publishers Weekly, 1996-06-17 Douglas, who developed criminal profiling techniques for the FBI, teams up with novelist Olshaker to tell of his 25-year career tracking down serial killers. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1995-11-15 One of the first to develop the specialty of "criminal-personality profiling," Douglas has written a readable, popular version of his earlier Sexual Homicide (Lexington, 1988). He discusses how FBI profilers, working from crime scene evidence, predict the type of personality who committed a serial murder. Accurate profiles-such as that of Wayne Williams, the Atlanta child killer-can help focus on likely suspects. Profiling can also suggest proactive steps for luring the culprit into contacting the police. Unfortunately, a profile is apt to "fit a lot of people." As the unsolved Green River Killer case attests, it cannot substitute for hard evidence. Although profiling has limitations not emphasized in this semiautobiographical account, Douglas is justifiably proud of its success. Recommended for true crime collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/95.]-Gregor A. Preston, formerly with Univ. of California Lib., Davis
Publishers Weekly, 1995-10-16 Douglas (Sexual Homicide) retired this year after 25 years with the FBI, the last 18 with the Behavioral Science Unit, which he rechristened the Investigative Support Unit (``to get rid of the BS''). With the aid of Olshaker (The Instant Image), he traces the rise of the unit from stepchild of the agency to a position of national respect, especially as it became helpful to state, county and local police in solving many high-profile serial murder and rape cases. This was accomplished in large part by having agents put themselves in the minds of criminals, a feat made possible largely by interviews conducted with incarcerated serial murderers, from Charles Manson to David Berkowitz (``Son of Sam''). The authors conclude that although such offenders may be impelled by anger, greed, jealousy, profit or revenge (as are many other criminals), they are more complex cases because they are distanced from compassion, guilt or remorse and so provide what is called a unique signature. All are motivated by the desire for manipulation, domination and control, and fantasy looms large in their psyches. The many case histories make this singularly important study as readable as a mystery novel. Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club and Mystery Guild alternates. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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