Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters

( 40 )

Overview

In this unique book, Peter Vronsky documents the psychological, investigative, and cultural aspects of serial murder, beginning with its first recorded instance in Ancient Rome, through fifteenth-century France, up to such notorious contemporary cases as cannibal/necrophile Ed Kemper, Henry Lee Lucas, Ted Bundy, and the emergence of what he classifies as "the serial rampage killer" such as Andrew Cunanan.

Exhaustively researched with transcripts of interviews with killers, and ...

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Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters

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Overview

In this unique book, Peter Vronsky documents the psychological, investigative, and cultural aspects of serial murder, beginning with its first recorded instance in Ancient Rome, through fifteenth-century France, up to such notorious contemporary cases as cannibal/necrophile Ed Kemper, Henry Lee Lucas, Ted Bundy, and the emergence of what he classifies as "the serial rampage killer" such as Andrew Cunanan.

Exhaustively researched with transcripts of interviews with killers, and featuring up-to-date information on the apprehension and conviction of the Green River Killer and the Beltway Snipers, Vronsky's one-of-a-kind books covers every conceivable aspect of an endlessly riveting true-crime phenomenon.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425196403
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/5/2004
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 168,729
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Vronsky is an investigative journalist and a producer of documentary films for television. His work has appeared on PBS, Discovery Channel, MTV, CNN, and various international channels.
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Table of Contents

Preface ix
Part 1 A History of Monsters
1. The Postmodern Age of Serial Homicide, 1970-2000 3
2. A Brief History of Serial Homicide 42
Part 2 The Method and Madness
3. Classifying Serial Killers 99
4. The Evolution of Monstrosity 147
5. The Question of Madness 241
6. Serial Killers As Children 269
7. The Serial Murderer's First Kill 286
8. The Killing Times 303
Part 3 Fighting Monsters
9. The Art and Science of Criminal Profiling 321
10. Surviving a Serial Killer 364
Acknowledgments 385
Endnotes 386
Selected Sources 395
Index 400
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

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4 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2005

    A Definitive History of Serial Killers

    Right from the beginning the author of this book tells us that he is not an expert on serial killers. He is just like most readers: a curious amateur, he says. Except that during his travels, he twice briefly encountered serial killers by accident before they were identified and captured. But that is not what might make him different. The difference is not that he encountered them, but that he discovered that he had done so, he explains. The rest of us might be lucky to have passed by 'our' serial killers and not know it today. How many, he asks, do we sit next to on the bus or stand behind in line at supermarket and never find out? ¿I questioned the mathematical odds of running into two killers in that manner,¿ he writes. The discovery of his own casual encounters with ¿my two serial killers¿: Richard ('Times Square Ripper') Cottingham in New York and Andrei ('Red Ripper-Citizen-X) Chikatilo in Russia, inspired Vronsky to write his book--a history of serial killers. Vronsky says that he wanted to know ¿where had they sprung from and by what means and paths did they move about for me to so randomly stumble across these two homicidal monsters, roaming free in the world among us?¿ Vronsky is not quite the amateur he claims to be. He is a former investigative journalist and according to his website he is currently working on his Ph.D. in history. As a history, Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters is a formidable work of research paying meticulous attention to fact and detail and to debunking common myths about serial killers. Vronsky traces the historical record on serial homicide back to the Roman Empire and follows it through into medieval times, unearthing the records of serial homicide trials attributing murders to vampires and werewolves, a type of insanity plea of the time, he suggests. He provides a fascinating account of the 'London Monster' who a hundred years prior to Jack the Ripper would stalk and stab women on the streets of London, without killing them, and he explores the build-up of sexual crimes against female victims in Europe just before Jack the Ripper comes on the scene. Vronsky is clearly a historian and often fits the phenomenon of serial murder into a historically social context. He describes the proliferation of serial killing in the sixties by pegging the rise of homicides to the Boston Strangler's murder of one of his victims on the day JFK was buried. He writes, 'The death of JFK defined for us the halfway point between Pearl Harbor and 9/11-when bad things stopped happening `over there' and began to occur `over here.'' His description of the decline of the porn stores on Times Square, the proliferation of ultra-fetish porn through on the Internet and its tenuous relationship to fueling homicidal fantasies is fascinating. With even-handed balance, Vronsky also looks at the relationship of the Bible to fueling those same murderous fantasies. Vronsky is critical of the entertainment industry¿s portrayal of serial killers and the media¿s selective coverage of serial murder depending upon the social status of the victim. He contrasts the frenzied coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial for two murders with the total disregard for the murders of thirteen street prostitutes during the same period. Vronsky writes, ¿For the press covering serial murder these days it is not the sheer number of snuffed-out lives that count, but their celebrity status or visible credit rating¿the trade-off comes in at around one SUV in the garage for every five dead hookers in the Dumpster.¿ Serial Killers explores the issue of how many serial killers really are out there and debunks the often cited number of 50,000 missing children that John Walsh, the host of America's Most Wanted, claimed were kidnapped and murdered every year by serial killers. Vronsky takes a hard look at the history of the FBI behavioral sciences profiling and reveals some of its failures and looks at the most

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2010

    Great Book!

    The book was very enlightening and interesting. Peter Vronsky did his research and gave more insight into the mind and madness of serial killers than other similar books.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Hard to put down

    If you are interested in Serial Killers or Forensic Science, this book is for you. Vronsky has a style that is both informative and enjoyable. He really gets to the heart of why people kill and provides great case studies. I love the way he points out that these monsters are also people and finds a way to keep the book from getting too serious. I bought this book for school, but plan to re-read it and see what else I can learn. This is not your average textbook!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2009

    GREAT READ!!

    Outstanding book. If you want to learn about killers then this is one of the top books on the list you should read. It was interesting and fasted paced.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent introduction to serial killers

    This is far and away the best book on serial killers ever written. Out of all the books on deviant psychology I've read over the years, "Serial Killers" gives superb insight into the minds of these madmen. Vronsky pulls no punches when it comes to describing each case he delves into, and, refreshingly, he isn't afraid to voice his personal opinion at times. What makes this book all the more amazing is the fact that is was written by a journalist and documentary maker, not a trained psychologist or FBI agent. A lot of you may consider that as a possible negative, but Vronsky is as close to a master storyteller as you're going to get with the subject matter, and his knowledge and insight are superior to anyone else writing about serial killers today.

    None other than the great Colin Wilson has stated that Vronsky's book may well be a revolutionary step forward in our understanding of the phenomena of the serial killer. I have to agree with him! It's an amazingly researched, entertaining and coherent piece of work. If you're obsessed with the workings of the human mind like I am, do not hesitate to read this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2008

    Absolutely incredible read

    This book was absolutely incredible. It was a hard book to put down, and seeing as I am gonna major in Criminal Psychology, this book truly helped introduce me to the subject. I recommend it to anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2008

    It was amazing

    I loved the book it was really informative. I liked how informal it was,there were statistics to back up his claims. I liked that there were pictures. I really couldnt put it down

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2005

    A Refreshing Change

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Instead of using the usual matter-of-fact approach many books take on the subject of serial killers, the author's tone was informal and even a bit conversational. His writing skill made this a hard book to put down. There was more than the usual amount of insight into the psychology of various types of offenders along with many case-studies and information on profiling. The last chapter was unique among books I've read, with tips to avoid becoming a victim and suggestions on what to do and what not to do if you do. Truly a pleasure to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2005

    Fascinating/Informative Read

    This indepth history of serial killers is one of the most compelling books I've ever read on this subject. Fascinating research, detailed accounts of several serial killers' crimes and personal history, along with frightening insight into the psyche of serial killers make this a must-read for psychology/Forensic Files junkies.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2013

    .

    .

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2012

    Dont bother reading

    This book is so incredibly boring im not going to bother finishing it. If you enjoy reading statistics with no real proof they are accurate, then this book is for you.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing read!

    This book was so informative and well written that it was hard to put down. I was thoroughly entertained and learned a lot as well! It was worth the price and the time. I would recommend this book to anyone.

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  • Posted August 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Bored

    Honestly I got bored with the book. I wouldn't recommend it.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted March 26, 2011

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    Posted January 26, 2012

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    Posted May 12, 2010

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    Posted March 31, 2011

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    Posted July 30, 2011

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    Posted December 31, 2009

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    Posted July 15, 2010

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