Mass Murder in the United States: A History

Mass Murder in the United States: A History

by Grant Duwe


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Is mass murder a historically new phenomenon that emerged in the 1960s? How has it changed over time? And what causes a person to commit multiple murders in a matter of hours or even minutes? This book explores these questions by examining 909 mass murders that took place in the United States between 1900 and 1999. By far the largest study on the topic to date, it begins with a look at the patterns and prevalence of mass murders by presenting rates from 1900-1999 and by describing the characteristics of mass killers. Placing the phenomenon within the broader social, political, and economic context of the twentieth century, the work examines the factors that have influenced trends in the prevalence of mass murder. It also discusses more than 100 case studies within three distinct periods of mass murder activity (1900-1939, 1940-1965, and 1966-1999) to illustrate more clearly the motives of mass murderers and the circumstances surrounding their crimes. The final chapters take a look at media coverage and the role it has played in the social construction of mass murder. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786431502
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 06/08/2007
Pages: 219
Sales rank: 310,867
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.44(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Grant Duwe is supervisor of research and evaluation for the Minnesota Department of Corrections. His research has been published in Crime & Delinquency, Justice Quarterly, Homicide Studies and Western Criminology Review. He holds a Ph.D. in criminology and criminal justice from Florida State University.

Table of Contents

Preface 1

Introduction 3

1. The Patterns and Prevalence of Mass Murder 15

2. The First Mass Murder Wave, 1900-1939 32

3. The Trough Between the Waves, 1940-1965 59

4. The Second Mass Murder Wave, 1966-1999 82

5. The News Media’s Presentation of Mass Murder 131

6. The Social Construction of Mass Murder 150

Conclusion 173

Appendix: Data and Methods 185

Chapter Notes 197

References 199

Index 209

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Mass Murder in the United States: A History 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
ZSW More than 1 year ago
This is a very informative and well-researched book, with numerous examples utilized. It's sad that there are such a plethora of material in the US to work from, with more added every month, but Duwe crafts an intriguing narrative from his gruesome subject. Closer to an academic work, the author shies away from sensationalism, avoiding the 'blood and guts' writing that characterizes Anne Rule or voyeuristic pulp magazines. The prose does not always flow as well as one might hope, as an overall air of choppiness dogs the writing. However, the book is perfectly readable by any measure, and holds the reader's attention well. Deep detail is not an option, as the author is covering several decades in 220 pages, leaving little room for much of anything beyond an overview. This is a broad history, not a tell-all biography of a killer. Cheap thrills should be sought elsewhere. Overall I would recommend this to any true crime enthusiast or academic scholar, as the information is solid despite the occasionally-drab writing. If you're interested in mass murderers in modern history, this is a very good resource.