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Criminal Man Paperback – July 6, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0822337232 ISBN-10: 0822337231

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Editorial Reviews


“Cesare Lombroso’s Criminal Man has long been a classic of criminology. Mary Gibson and Nicole Hahn Rafter, in offering this finely annotated translation and showing the progression of Lombroso’s thought through five editions of the book, have made a great contribution to a broader understanding of this towering, yet often misrepresented, figure and his classic text. With its lucid introduction by Gibson and Rafter, and many original illustrations, this book will be a precious resource for the history of criminology and for European intellectual and social history more generally.”—David I. Kertzer, author of Prisoner of the Vatican: The Popes’ Secret Plot to Capture Rome from the New Italian State

“Gibson and Rafter successfully show the evolution and complexity of Lombroso’s theories, and even the contradictions within them, which are obscured in standard textbook summaries. . . . [T]his volume remains a valuable contribution towards the study of criminology, intellectual European history and social history more generally.”
(Chiara Beccalossi, History of the Human Sciences)

About the Author

Cesare Lombroso (1835–1909), an internationally famous Italian physician and criminologist, wrote extensively about jurisprudence and the causes of crime. He produced more than thirty books during his lifetime.

Mary Gibson is Professor of History at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her books include Born to Crime: Cesare Lombroso and the Origins of Biological Criminality. Nicole Hahn Rafter is Senior Research Fellow at Northeastern University. Her books include Creating Born Criminals. Rafter and Gibson translated Lombroso’s Criminal Woman, the Prostitute, and the Normal Woman, also published by Duke University Press.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (July 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822337231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822337232
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #267,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Tsuyoshi on September 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
Though his theory of `the born criminal' is not likely to win many supporters today, Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909), an Italian physician and criminologist, is now widely considered one of the most important founders of criminology. His once widely popular ideas about how and why some people commit crimes were very influential in the 19th century Europe and America, and this book is the first critically annotated translation of the book which still gives a chance for an intriguing read and deeper understanding of the Western culture.

Lombroso's theory is based on the idea of `the born criminal,' certain group of possibly dangerous people marked by what he called `anomalies.' According to him, certain people who have particular physical traits are more likely to commit crimes than other `normal' people, and by carefully checking the bodies and faces of the criminals, including their cranial capacities or tattoos, Lombroso established his unique theory that sounds unusual today. He insists, for instance, "Nearly all the criminals have ... thick hair and thin beard." (p. 53) Today this crude statement would never be convincing.

In short 'Criminal Man' is an analysis of the nature of crime, a pseudo-science based on empirical data. Over the five editions of `Criminal Man' Lombroso developed his theory by accumulating data, articles, photos, and even the poems and drawings by the criminals, and he developed his theory with more categories and sub-categories added to his original idea, later covering the territories of prostitution, insanity, and even botany.

[ABOUT THE EDITIONS] The original book was first published in 1876, and this one-volume edition later expanded to the fifth edition (3 volumes and 1 atlas) in 1896-97.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Juan Bircann on July 28, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Con esta obra de Lombroso nace formalmente la Criminología (llamada entonces Antropología Criminal; el término "Criminología" surge en 1885 con la obra de Garófalo).
Como referencia histórica, y dentro de un contexto general, la obra de Lombroso no ha sido superada, más bien sus postulados han venido a ser confirmados a la luz de los más recientes conocimientos. Su clasificación de los delincuentes se mantiene vigente. De igual manera sus observaciones respecto a los rasgos distintivos de la subcultura criminal: uso del tatuaje, jerga, vanidad, sobrenombres, religiosidad y superstición, insensibilidad moral, etc.
Esta obra clásica, la primera en su género, es referencia obligatoria para el criminalista y todos aquellos interesados en la criminogénesis o etiología del delito.
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