The Mad Bomber of New York: The Extraordinary True Story of the Manhunt That Paralyzed a City

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Overview

Between 1940 and 1957, 33 bombs--strategically placed in Grand Central, Penn Station, Radio City Music Hall, Macy's and other populous areas of New York--paralyzed the city, sending shockwaves of fear through an unsuspecting public.
George Metesky, the “Mad Bomber,” unleashed a reign of terror that reverberated through America's social, legal, and political landscape, ultimately spurring the birth of modern criminal profiling when a crime psychiatrist was called in to assist in...
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The Mad Bomber of New York: The Extraordinary True Story of the Manhunt That Paralyzed a City

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Overview

Between 1940 and 1957, 33 bombs--strategically placed in Grand Central, Penn Station, Radio City Music Hall, Macy's and other populous areas of New York--paralyzed the city, sending shockwaves of fear through an unsuspecting public.
George Metesky, the “Mad Bomber,” unleashed a reign of terror that reverberated through America's social, legal, and political landscape, ultimately spurring the birth of modern criminal profiling when a crime psychiatrist was called in to assist in the manhunt. Compelling historical true crime, The Mad Bomber of New York is the gripping tale of two individuals engaged in a deadly game of hide-and-seek, with the city of New York caught in the crosshairs.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Greenburg (Peaches and Daddy) hits all the requisite marks in this intriguing but slow-moving chronicle of a serial bomber whose "career" spanned 16 years between 1940 and 1956. Dubbed the "Mad Bomber" by the New York City press, George Metesky's troubles began while he was working at Con Edison's Hell Gate power plant, when an industrial accident left him, he said, with chronic tuberculosis. His worker's compensation claim was denied on a technicality. Metesky—later diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic—devised a scheme to "punish" Con Ed by planting homemade pipe bombs throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, first at a Con Ed plant, and then in public places, including Radio City Music Hall, Penn Station, Grand Central Station, and movie theaters. Miraculously, only eight people were injured and no one was killed during the spree. Greenburg's account picks up speed with Metesky's apprehension in 1957, after he published letters in a New York newspaper giving some identifying details. A debate raged over his competency to stand trial and which borough would try him. Greenburg, a practicing attorney, weights his account too heavily on the repetitious hunt for Metesky when his legal expertise might have been better used exploring the complex questions of legal competency. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"Fear, the city and one angry man.
Greenburg (Peaches & Daddy: A Story of the Roaring ’20s, the Birth of Tabloid Media, and the Courtship that Captured the Hearts and Imaginations of the American Public, 2008) relates the gripping and bizarre story of George Metesky, the “Mad Bomber” who, between 1940 and 1957, terrorized New York City with a series of pipe bombs placed in public restrooms, phone booths, theater seats and other public locations. Though his bombs caused no fatalities, 15 citizens sustained injuries, and Metesky’s elusion of the police engendered extreme anxiety in the populace and frustrated and humiliated the NYPD. In a clear, engaging style, Greenburg marshals the complex facts of the decades-long saga and paints a sympathetically three-dimensional portrait of Metesky, a paranoid schizophrenic with a long-held grudge against the Con Edison power company for failure to pay workman’s compensation after he sustained an injury in its employ. The manhunt would have far-reaching impact on police work, as desperate investigators turned to unconventional methods after being stymied in their pursuit; chief among these innovations was the decision to consult with prominent psychiatrist James Brussel in an attempt to infer personal details about the faceless terrorist through a sort of educated guesswork. Brussel’s contributions proved strikingly germane, and “criminal profiling” would become a key component in investigations ever after. Metesky’s legal battles after his capture would also prove influential, his tireless letter-writing campaign eventually leading to reforms in the handling of the criminally insane.
A compelling account of a dangerously angry man and the investigation that helped to revolutionize modern police work."--Kirkus Reviews

“A unique trip into the heart of the decades-long investigation to find the mystery man who held New York City in his deadly grip, and into the mind of a psychopath bent on revenge—no matter the cost. An excellent read!”—Clint Van Zandt, former FBI profiler, NBC/MSNBC’s senior criminal analyst, and author of Facing Down Evil: Life on the Edge as an FBI Hostage Negotiator

“A brilliantly gripping account of New York’s forgotten seventeen-year serial bombing case and the rise of criminal profiling in American investigative practice. A compelling new history of the infamous Mad Bomber who terrorized New York.”—Peter Vronsky, author of Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters

“Michael M. Greenburg takes us back in time and tells a compelling and engrossing story of crime, twisted psychological functioning, and the societal institutions that tried to deal with the perpetrator.”—Gerald Sweet, PhD, forensic and police psychologist, Los Angeles Police Department (ret.)

“Painstakingly researched and masterfully told. Michael M. Greenburg has put together a first-rate true-crime story that knocks your socks off—and leaves you pondering the full meaning of insanity.”—Scott Christianson, author of Bodies of Evidence: Forensic Science and Crime and Condemned: Inside the Sing Sing Death House

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402774348
  • Publisher: Union Square Press
  • Publication date: 4/5/2011
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 813,605
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: War and Peace xi

I "A Real Boom Town" 1

II Hell Gate 13

III The Seeds of Madness 21

IV "Selected by Destiny" 34

V "A Man with a Hammer" 39

VI Chasing Shadows 60

VII The "Twelfth Street Prophet" 69

VIII "The Greatest Manhunt in the History of the Police Department" 74

IX A City in Turmoil 80

X Profile of a Bomber 85

XI Christmas in Manhattan 104

XII "An Innocent and Almost Absurdly Simple Thing" 109

XIII "Plenty of Whacks" 113

XIV "The Four Fishermen" 123

XV Alice Kelly 143

XVI "The Price of Peace" 150

XVII "Your Next Door Neighbor" 162

XVIII Rewards, Accolades, and Accusations 171

XIX A Question of Competency 184

XX "As Plain as the Nose on Your Face" 199

XXI "His Days on Earth are Numbered" 205

XXII The Birth of Criminal Profiling 212

XXIII Right from Wrong 220

XXIV Matteawan 225

Epilogue 241

Acknowledgments 245

Author's Note on Sources 247

Notes 248

Bibliography 293

Index 305

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Customer Reviews

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