Into the Minds of Madmen: How the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit Revolutionized Crime Investigation

Overview

When law enforcement struggles to solve a serial murder, arson, rape, or child abduction, and is making little headway, it turns to the FBI’s legendary Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Over the past three decades, more than thirty members of this elite team have worked to capture countless elusive criminals. Rarely have they been appreciated. Never has their story been told.
Now, at the suggestion of Stephen Band, the current Chief of the ...

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Overview

When law enforcement struggles to solve a serial murder, arson, rape, or child abduction, and is making little headway, it turns to the FBI’s legendary Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Over the past three decades, more than thirty members of this elite team have worked to capture countless elusive criminals. Rarely have they been appreciated. Never has their story been told.
Now, at the suggestion of Stephen Band, the current Chief of the BSU, the inside story has been written by John Campbell, former BSU Chief (1989-1992) and Don DeNevi, author of many highly acclaimed true-crime books. In a fascinating account, full of quiet heroics and grisly criminal details, the authors describe the difficult work of the tireless professionals who have devoted their careers to investigating and analyzing the deeds and personalities of the macabre psychopaths who haunt our streets.
In contrast to well-known fictional depictions, like The Silence of the Lambs and The X-Files, DeNevi and Campbell’s real-life perspective shows that the true story is more engrossing, indeed astonishing, than any movie or novel. The authors reveal how this crack unit developed a new technique, from a combination of psychological profiling and old-fashioned detective work, which succeeded in cracking a host of difficult cases, including serial murders, hostage taking, and terrorism. Readers experience what it is like to crawl into the twisted minds of notorious criminals, as psychological profilers must do to learn their motivations, patterns, and probable next move.
This unique oral history will provide fascinating reading for fans of C.S.I., Profiler, and other similar dramas, and is also a long overdue and fitting tribute to the heroic men and women of the Behavioral Science Unit, who fight everyday to keep Americans safe.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
DeNevi (Mob Nemesis; Riddle of the Rock) and Campbell (former chief of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit) write in their introduction: "Although officially authorized by the FBI, the book is far from a bland, bureaucratic puff piece that covers up mistakes and elevates every minor accomplishment into a brilliant triumph." Unfortunately, that's precisely what this book is, a button-down history that never gets more interesting than an interdepartmental memo. The authors seem determined to remind the reader that behind every gruesome or sensational crime there are untold hours of procedural drudgery, reams of paperwork and tangles of bureaucratic formalities. Formally established in 1972, the BSU was a radical departure from the spit-and-polish, by-the-book bureau of J. Edgar Hoover's day. Also known as the Investigative Support Unit, the BSU was the first law enforcement body to develop and systematize a method for profiling the psychological tendencies of criminal types based solely on crime scene evidence. While this innovation in modern criminology has fascinated the general public and inspired numerous films and television series, this book offers little discussion of profiling itself or how it works. Except for a cursory overview of the Unabomber investigation, it does not discuss specific cases or criminals. Instead, the authors offer a chronological inventory of courses, programs and administrative decisions; the r sum s of several prominent BSU agents; and a grab bag of irrelevant anecdotes. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591021353
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 11/28/2003
  • Pages: 385
  • Sales rank: 954,450
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.37 (h) x 1.24 (d)

Meet the Author

Don DeNevi (Menlo Park, CA) is the author, or coauthor, of thirty-two books, including Mob Nemesis—How the FBI Crippled Organized Crime (with FBI Special Agent in Charge Joe Griffin) and Riddle of the Rock: The Only Successful Escape from Alcatraz. Having previously taught in the criminal justice department at San Francisco State University, he now teaches and counsels the condemned on San Quentin’s death row.
John H. Campbell, Ph.D. (St. Cloud, MN), is a professor in the criminal justice department at St. Cloud State University and the former Unit Chief of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit.

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