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Why We Love Serial Killers: The Curious Appeal of the World's Most Savage Murderers
     

Why We Love Serial Killers: The Curious Appeal of the World's Most Savage Murderers

3.7 4
by Scott Bonn, Diane Dimond (Foreword by)
 

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For decades now, serial killers have taken center stage in the news and entertainment media. The coverage of real-life murderers such as Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer has transformed them into ghoulish celebrities. Similarly, the popularity of fictional characters such as Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter or Dexter demonstrates just how eager the public is

Overview


For decades now, serial killers have taken center stage in the news and entertainment media. The coverage of real-life murderers such as Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer has transformed them into ghoulish celebrities. Similarly, the popularity of fictional characters such as Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter or Dexter demonstrates just how eager the public is to be frightened by these human predators.

But why is this so? Could it be that some of us have a gruesome fascination with serial killers for the same reasons we might morbidly stare at a catastrophic automobile accident? Or it is something more? In Why We Love Serial Killers, criminology professor Dr. Scott Bonn explores our powerful appetite for the macabre, while also providing new and unique insights into the world of the serial killer, including those he has gained from his correspondence with two of the world’s most notorious examples, David Berkowitz (“Son of Sam”) and Dennis Rader (“Bind, Torture, Kill”). In addition, Bonn examines the criminal profiling techniques used by law enforcement professionals to identify and apprehend serial predators, he discusses the various behaviors—such as the charisma of the sociopath— that manifest themselves in serial killers, and he explains how and why these killers often become popular cultural figures.

Groundbreaking in its approach, Why We Love Serial Killers is a compelling look at how the media, law enforcement agencies, and public perception itself shapes and feeds the “monsters” in our midst.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Powerful and a must-read! Dr. Bonn examines the serial killer, as depicted in fact and fiction, as a timeless cultural imperative. . . . Insightful, compelling, and an excellent source of myth-busting information for laymen and professionals alike.” —Burl Barer, award-winning crime author and radio host

“Considered one of the world’s top experts on criminal behavior, Scott Bonn has delivered a book which is so powerful and provocative, you cannot put it down. Indeed, through his diligent work and unparalleled access to these infamous killers who’ve committed some of the most horrific crimes of our day, he provides chilling and critical insight into these deviant and pathological criminal minds . . . and reveals the truth behind the headlines.” —Rita Cosby,
Emmy Award-winning television host and bestselling author

“For those of you that are interested in serial killers—why they do what they do—and want to go the extra mile and delve into their disturbed minds, this book is a must-read! Author Scott Bonn explains how their evil minds work and also takes on the challenge of debunking myths that go along with them. He explains their twisted fantasies and motives by getting it straight from the horse’s mouth—the killers themselves. He also discusses the members of our society who collect the belongings of serial killers, including hair, clothing and even dirt from their crime scenes. There isn’t a stone left unturned in this book, that is, if you want to learn about the worst killers on the planet.” —Victoria Redstall, author and investigative journalist

In Why We Love Serial Killers, Drew University criminology professor Scott Bonn, PhD, simultaneously examines the public’s and media’s fascination with the monsters among us and the ways in which that attention impacts them. He writes about serial killers’ behaviors and the research—from the FBI’s original work to more recent models—that informs the law enforcement professionals charged with profiling, catching, and studying them. A real bonus: Dr. Bonn’s correspondence with Dennis Rader (BTK or “Bind, Torture, Kill”) for its insight into the mind of an especially chilling murderous psychopath. As such, it is a stark reminder that, irrespective of any deceptively benign appearances to the contrary, “they” are never like “us.” —Sue Russell, award-winning journalist and author of Lethal Intent, a biography of Aileen Wuornos

“Scott Bonn has taken on one of the most horrifying, disgusting, and chilling type of criminals, serial killers, and illustrates their enduring appeal. Using social constructionist and functionalist analyses, he delves into society’s strange attraction to these infamous murderers, provides insight into some of America’s most famous examples, and explains why we are so attracted to the nuances of these people’s lives and motivations. Squarely looking the news media in the face for sensationalizing and even romanticizing these criminals for the sake of ratings and raising the public’s fear, Bonn answers the questions about why we remain lured by these stories, our fascination with them, and why the serial killer will long endure in our consciousness as a repulsive yet captivating character in criminology.” —Peter Adler, Ph.D. Professor of Sociology, University of Denver, and Patricia Adler, Ph.D. Professor of Sociology, University of Colorado

Scott Bonn’s book, Why We Love Serial Killers: The Curious Appeal of the World’s Most Savage Murderers, makes a significant contribution to our knowledge of a subject that seems to fascinate many Americans. Interest in serial killers, Bonn reminds us, far outstrips their murderous activities that make up only a small portion of murders committed in the US. In addition to dispelling myths about serial murder and murderers, he gives an in-depth profile of some of the most notorious killers, including fascinating insight on Dennis Rader, the BTK killer who has become Bonn’s pen pal and confidant. Bonn uses a constructionist perspective to help us understand this fascination with these psychopathic murderers, showing how their creation satisfies the needs of a broad segment of society. All in all, Bonn provides a noteworthy contribution to the literature of the field, one that opens new doors for understanding the inner drives that propel these killers into committing their “savage” acts.” —Larry Siegel, professor of Criminology and Justice Studies, UMass-Lowell

Many of us are fascinated by serial killers but have little understanding of why that is so. In Why We Love Serial Killers, Dr. Scott Bonn delves into intriguing social-psychological issues that surround our curiosity and even obsession with the world’s most ruthless killers. He carefully and vividly explains our fascination with evil and shows powerful evidence that the news and entertainment media glorify serial killers and turn them into what he calls “celebrity monsters.” Along the way, he defines serial killers, explains how their often psychopathic minds operate, identifies their varied and complex motivations, and offers new and unique insights into two infamous serial killers—the “Son of Sam” and “Bind, Torture, Kill”—based on his personal contact with them. Dr. Bonn delivers a brilliant examination of the most dangerous and unremorseful humans on the planet. This book is thought-provoking and it debunks popular stereotypes about serial killers such as they are all young, white males. Dr. Bonn has authored a must-read for both the amateur and professional or academic enthusiast of crime. —RJ Parker, bestselling true crime author of Top Cases of the FBI

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781629144320
Publisher:
Skyhorse Publishing
Publication date:
10/28/2014
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
448,150
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Scott Bonn is a professor of criminology at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. His expert commentary has appeared in the New York Times, the Huffington Post, Headline News Network, and more. Dr. Bonn hosts a weekly college radio show and has recently appeared as an expert analyst in the A&E documentary The Long Island Serial Killer. The author resides in Manhattan, New York.

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Why We Love Serial Killers: The Curious Appeal of the World's Most Savage Murderers 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book never really took off and there was nothing in it I haven't heard or read elsewhere. The authors had a habit of talking down to the audience, promising insight and information in subsequent chapters. They also made a big deal out of correspondence with 2 serial killers. A sample size of 2 among so many isn't remotely relevant. As a group, psychotics and sociopaths lie as easily as they breathe and the authors are taking this sample size of 2 as representative of the whole class. Neither of the 2 is typical and the only thing to recommend either one is that they corresponded with the authors. Marrying the topic of serial murderers with Sociology is old old news. It was a single chapter in the Sociology class I took at the local junior college back in 1973. In short, the book is not well written, it tends to ramble, and the authors frequently talk down to the audience. My advice is that readers look for something relevant and better written. This book is a dud. The most credit I can give it is that the authors came up with a catchy title and then laid down to write the book. I would prefer to give it zero stars but the site won't post my review without at least one star.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good book about why we are fascinated with serial killers, murder, and other horrible acts. Highly recommended. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is truly unique in its treatment of serial killer as popular culture personalities. Dr. Bonn grabs the reader from the first page as he debunks popular myths about serial killers and powerfully explains the public's enduring fascination and even obsession with the world's most savage killers. This is a must read for anyone interested in the psychopathic criminal mind and the dark side of the human condition.
Melissa0003 More than 1 year ago
Mr. Bonn delves takes the reader into the criminology and criminal minds of why people are curious about serial killers. The book is well written, yet written more informative as Mr. Bonn provides insight into the serial killers mind. For those that watch shows on anything that deals with the criminal, serial, or investigative this is a book for you.