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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It was worth the money
This book has the underline - a study in the psychology of violence - which I would like to point out for starters.
For those of you who want to know more about the actual psychology behind serial killers, this is the book to read! It's a great book, but the authors still seem to be more interested in all the gory details. But it also describes different syndromes...
Published on 14 Dec 2000

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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a let down
I was disappointed in this book because I was looking for much more in the way of psychology rather than just written descriptions of fairly well known cases (well I'd heard of many of them). There was some interesting stuff in the book, but by the end I thought a lot of it was padded out with just descriptions of crimes and this made me think "Maybe there isn't that much...
Published on 26 Aug 2008 by Doghouse


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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a let down, 26 Aug 2008
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This review is from: The Serial Killers: A Study in the Psychology of Violence (Paperback)
I was disappointed in this book because I was looking for much more in the way of psychology rather than just written descriptions of fairly well known cases (well I'd heard of many of them). There was some interesting stuff in the book, but by the end I thought a lot of it was padded out with just descriptions of crimes and this made me think "Maybe there isn't that much to profiling these killers and the National Centre for the Analysis of Violent Crime just contains a big white board with "White male + head injury + interested in porn + absent father = possible serial killer" scrawled on it. :) (Anyway, just ordered another book to find out. There must be more intricate detail to find out about these people, not just what they did.)

The book also needed editing in another way. For instance, the chapter on 'murderers that have accomplices' had only just got under way when I found myself reading a description of a killer who worked alone. What was the point of that? The rest of the book was littered with killers working alone, this section was supposed to be about dual killers. Some one needs to cut and paste this part to another chapter. (I think this 'going off point' happened a lot.)

Lastly the updated section was very disappointing. Even less psychology the original book - Harold Shipman features in the bumph on the back cover, but all they do is describe his crimes and make a very superficial summary that he may have done it `because his mother died of cancer.'
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It was worth the money, 14 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This book has the underline - a study in the psychology of violence - which I would like to point out for starters.
For those of you who want to know more about the actual psychology behind serial killers, this is the book to read! It's a great book, but the authors still seem to be more interested in all the gory details. But it also describes different syndromes and behavioural patterns, which I find really interesting. I would have given this book five stars if it wasn't for all the gory stuff, that I can manage without. Still, maybe it is necessary to include it, in order to accurately describe why the killers did what they did. Nevertheless, it's a good book and worth the money!
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74 of 79 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of interest but not the psychology I'd hoped for, 11 May 2001
By 
duncan.williamson@tesco.net (A Brit in Tbilisi, Georgia) - See all my reviews
Like the book Legal Blunders, this is another book that you can read from cover to cover or just dip into as you wish. I dipped it!
Firstly, I found the stories in this book interesting and revealing: there were crimes here that I did not know about before I read the book and there were crimes that I did know of but I learned more from the book.
However, given that my focus was the psychological aspect of the book, I was disappointed. The book is structured according to a variety of classifications such as sex crimes, the profile of a serial killer, the Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome and so on; but I didn't get enough of the psychology out of it that was promised.
I have reviewed books on such murderers as Harold Shipman, the murdering GP from England in which I called for greater insights into the psychology of such people: I really want to know what makes them tick.
As with Legal Blunders, The Serial Killers is a mutli national book in that we are treated to evil people from all over the place. The Fred and Rosemary West utter depravity are documented in greater detail than I have read before: as one comedian in the UK once asked, "How do we breed these people?" Not funny is it? They were perverted people to the nth degree and I can only hope that there like cannot exist again.
The story of Brady and Hindley, the Moors Murderers, gets no easier in the telling; and don't forget that there is still one poor child, tortured and killed by these evil people, still lying unfound out there on Saddleworth Moor: his parents and the rest of his family desperately want the boy home. Brady and Hindley were as evil as the Wests and are rotting in jail as they ought to do.
I'm sure everyone who reads this book will raise an eyebrow or two at the case of the 'girl in the box' who was abducted and then kept 'prisoner' for SEVEN years or so. In the middle of the case, though, the girl was allowed out to work, to shop and even to go home ... definitely spooky given that her captor abused her, beat her and goodness knows what else.
Definitely readable, definitely interesting, but some of the stories are just terrible: what one person can do to another beggars belief. If you are looking for psychology, you will find some here and may be partly satisfied.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag, 2 Aug 2009
By 
N. Whitehouse (Midlands, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Serial Killers: A Study in the Psychology of Violence (Paperback)
Wilson is an extremely good writer. His smooth and literate writing style remains readable despite the often horrific details recounted. His reports of the crimes are fully fleshed out and his accounts of the killer's lives are often enlightening. However, his accounts of the victims are, in most cases, thumbnails at best. Wilson's analysis leaves much to be desired and, for a crime writer and sometime occult researcher, Wilson is astoundingly prudish. He dwells on the sexual habits of some of his subjects in a way that suggests he sees their exploits as much more scandalising than they actually are and his views on homosexuality are just plain factually wrong.

In conclusion: Approach with caution. An excellent recounting of the details of the crimes but the analysis can be skimmed over.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heavy on case facts, 9 July 2011
By 
L. Davidson (Trondheim, Norway) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Serial Killers: A Study in the Psychology of Violence (Paperback)
Although this book is a bit dated (originally published in 1990, this is the updated 2007 version) it is a very interesting read. The book can be slightly repetative in that it brings up the same points from the same cases (i some times felt i was even reading the same paragraph)over and over again. The book is very detailed but still brief on many of the serial killers we have all heard of. It does, however also include many cases from outside the UK and US which is refreshing.

One of the more interesting chapters was (chapter 3) about the profilers themselves and the way the Behavior Analysis Unit came to be. I thought this chapter helped to show how Psychology is used not only in finding out why these people did what they did, but also in helping to identify the "types" of people. I also found the "evolution of killing" and the comparison with Maslows needs theory very interesting.

All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Psychology of serial killers and profiling.

(a word of caution.... some of the crime details are fairly graphic)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, if gory, reading, 13 Jan 2010
By 
Junius (London, Middlesex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Serial Killers: A Study in the Psychology of Violence (Paperback)
The book concerns serial killers, chiefly in the USA, but there are a few from the UK and USSR. Most are well known, and all are repulsive. There is some analysis about why people turn to serial murder.

Unfortunately, I am surprised that such a knowledgeable author makes a few errors and seems not to want to acknowledge where debate exists.

For instance, the author seems to agree with Chief Supt John DuRose over the identity of the Thames Nudes Murderer, but there is considerable doubt over whether DuRose was correct. After all, the man suspected was in Scotland duirng one of the murders. Although the author states the killer was unmarried, the man he suspects was married with a family! Likewise, the author has no doubt over Christie's guilt as to the Evans murders, but the evidence is less clear (read Eddowes' book or Oates'). Wilson may be correct in his view, but to state it so blandly is less useful. Finally, recent research indicates that Michael Ostrog was in a French gaol in 1888, yet Wilson notes him as a possible Ripper suspect! Having said that, the comments on the Ripper crimes seem very sound.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 21 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Serial Killers: A Study in the Psychology of Violence (Paperback)
I found this book very useful. Although it was written for a general audience, it contains enough hard info and science to have been very useful when writing my doctoral thesis. I read it in conjunction with Morton Bain's Psychopath! which is a fictional account of a serial killer, but written by a diagnosed psychopath. The two together proved invaluable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the serial killers a study in the psychology of violence, 18 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Serial Killers: A Study in the Psychology of Violence (Paperback)
well written book goes in depth on the subject if studying the subject well worth investing in this book have read several books on the subject but this is the most informative publication
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very interesting read, 31 July 2013
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Miss D. Najdenowa "deedeebg" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Serial Killers: A Study in the Psychology of Violence (Paperback)
will recommend to anyone who is studying this subject - good overview of different studies. not as scientific as I expected, but still worth reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars terrifying and enlightening Highly Recommend this book, 21 Sep 2014
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This was so informative, a must for the crime author. I found it to be indepth, terrifying and enlightening Highly Recommend this book.
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The Serial Killers: A Study in the Psychology of Violence
The Serial Killers: A Study in the Psychology of Violence by Donald Seaman (Paperback - 8 Nov 2007)
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