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Angel Killer: A True Story of Cannibalism, Crime Fighting, and Insanity in New York City (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Deborah Blum , The Atavist
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $1.99

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Book Description

In the mid-1920s, young children began to vanish from neighborhoods around New York City. It took the police a decade to find their abductor, an unassuming 64-year-old handyman named Albert Fish. Fish had committed crimes of unspeakable horror: He had not only abducted and murdered the children, but also tortured and, in some cases, eaten them. During Fish's trial, some of the country's most prominent psychiatrists debated the exact nature of Fish's crimes. Was he evil or insane? Who had the power to determine where one ended and the other began? At stake was not just the prospect of justice for Fish and his victims, but also the future of the new science of criminal behavior—the idea that society’s worst monsters needed to be both punished and understood. Award-winning journalist Deborah Blum tells the story of a notorious cannibal killer, the detective who brought him to justice, and the scientists who tried to make sense of his crimes.

Praise for Angel Killer:

“[A] breathtaking portrait of a criminal mind.”—Liz Colville, San Francisco Chronicle

“[Angel Killer] is more than an elegant true crime story of atrocious transgression and dogged detection. It exposes the origins of a clash between the scientific and religious approaches to punishment.”—Annalee Newitz, Download the Universe


Product Details

  • File Size: 193 KB
  • Print Length: 39 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: The Atavist (October 18, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009TBGVVI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,967 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling story of a real-life boogeyman October 23, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I don't know why people are drawn to grisly stories about mass murderers, such as Erik Larson's book "The Devil in the White City" (H.H. Holmes during the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago) and the film "The Changeling" (based on the Wineville, California "Chicken Coop Murders" in 1928). Nevertheless, many people are intrigued by these stories, wondering how any human being could commit such cold-blooded acts. Author Deborah Blum has brought to light another true story, this one about Hamilton Howard Fish, a real-life boogeyman labeled by the media as the "Gray Man" for his gentle, innocuous appearance. In the 1920s, he abducted and murdered an untold number of children in New York City, often eating their flesh afterward. Fortunately, a dedicated NYPD detective stayed on his trail for years before finding him, not an easy job with the state of crime forensics at that time.

"Angel Killer" was a fascinating account of how the Gray Man came to believe that angels were bringing him God's messages ordering him to kill the children. Equally fascinating were the efforts by his defense attorney to prove that Fish was not guilty by reason of insanity, a very difficult defense then as it is now, but even more so in an era when psychiatry was not as advanced as it is today.

Deborah Blum has done a fine job of telling the gruesome but fascinating story of the Gray Man.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very compelling read on the psychotic mind! October 24, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
As a long time fan of Blums book I felt this book delivered, and connected to me on a personal level. As medicated sufferer of schizophrenia I connected with this story and what constitutes insanity. I was nervous to write a review for this as I often have trouble expressing myself and this is such a good book. But after some pushing from my behavior counselor here I am telling you why you should read it. Blum presents Fish not just as a souless monster but as a human being and shows the corruption of the psychiatric system back then. I hope this book is something we can all learn from.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An in-depth exploration of a timely topic. October 30, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a quick and fast-paced read. Blum creates a chilling portrait of serial killer Albert Fish and raises a difficult question--was he evil or insane? And what's the difference between those two possibilities anyway? This is more than just a crime story -- it's a deep look into human nature.

Angel Killer is a must-read for anyone struggling to understand why mass murders do what they do.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quick but fascinating read October 30, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this in one evening, because I couldn't put it down. I read about the book on Deborah Blum's Twitter feed and downloaded that day. I've been a fan of hers since I listened to her being interviewed on several podcasts on her book The Poisoner's Handbook.

Also the topic is gruesome, she does not dwell on details. If you're looking for gore, this is not the book. If you are interested in bits of history and how one community was affected by a serial killer, download it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When evil doesn't know it's name. November 18, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Grey Man was the perpetrator of horrible crimes against children. But he saw them as angels in need of purifation, he was commanded by voices and in the service of his insanity. He had been in Bellevue curing the times of his killing, but was ignored I. His quiet persona. He was never evaluated or treated to any degree and was found sane and released. When finally apprehended, he was tried and his insanity defense rejected. At his execution, he had no real sense of his situation.
We are given information on his crimes, but also his life. The jury in fact knew he was insane but feared to release him to forensic institution. This book examines the question, how we as a society should deal with the insane who harm us? Is treatment mandated, and if so where. This is a small novella with large questions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little disappointed December 9, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was a little disappointed that a lot of this book relied on the writings of others on the topic. I did not feel that it was thorough enough in it's telling of the story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I will read anything Deborah Blum writes November 10, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is shorter than a full length book, but a fascinating story, well told. Deborah Blum is a brilliant science writer. I also reccommend The Poisoners Handbook.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Angel Killer November 11, 2012
By Kara
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book was interesting enough for me to finish it. However it was really short and didn't have a lot of detail.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Read better
Published 1 month ago by Georgia Seitz
2.0 out of 5 stars limited
More like a summary of new paper articles around murder. Does give one some interest in reading other accounts of psychiatric study in the realm of the preditory serial killer... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Peggy A Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder
Always like stories that take place in places and times I can relate to or know. Always some interesting history facts to go along with stories in the past too.
Published 6 months ago by Jacqueline Franks
3.0 out of 5 stars Creepy and scarey.
I am a fan of true crime stories and books. This one makes you just shake your head at what people do to one another.
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars too much!
Didn't like the psycho babble at the end of the book, it should have ended with his execution and nothing more.
Published 10 months ago by t-post
4.0 out of 5 stars children did not deserve this
the story was short but right to the point. albert fish was one sick person, and at that time no one seemed to know just how to handle him. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Paulette p
2.0 out of 5 stars A monster who murders children
I found this superficial and lacking in psychological insight. Perhaps I expected more mystery, but readers know almost immediately who is responsible for the crimes. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Vikki
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! Read in One Sitting
I couldn't get through John Douglas's Mind Hunter. I had all I could take of these guys before I finished the book. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Jeffrey Strain
3.0 out of 5 stars A quick read
It's very sobering to know that there are unassuming people out there capable of doing horrendous things. I found it interesting and it had just enough descriptive detail.
Published 13 months ago by Martha
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
An objective perspective of dilemma in deciding whether a person who commits a serious crime is "bad" or "mad" or both and our society' views on appropriate... Read more
Published 14 months ago by nora
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More About the Author

The Atavist publishes bestselling nonfiction stories that are longer than typical magazine articles but shorter than books.

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