From Publishers Weekly
This revised edition of a 1984 study is long on assertion and short on evidence. Dr. Samenow, a clinical psychologist, is legitimately disdainful of explanations of criminal behavior that blame everyone (society, family, violent television, etc.) but the criminal for his actions, but his counter-arguments will persuade few. He makes frequent sweeping generalizations ("Even the most hardened criminals who spout anti-police rhetoric to one another recognize societys need for police"), and provides nothing other than anecdotes in support of his position that all criminals break the law consciously and deliberately. A short new chapter on terrorism illustrates perfectly the limits of the authors "methodology"he defines the issue down to link Al Qaeda with any criminal whose actions frighten someone, and then simply discounts any outside influence as meaningfully contributing to the making of a criminal.
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From the Inside Flap
In 1984, this groundbreaking book presented a chilling profile of the criminal mind that shattered long-held myths about the sources of and cures for crime. Now, with the benefit of twenty years' worth of additional knowledge and insight, Stanton Samenow offers a completely updated edition of his classic work, including fresh perceptions into crimes in the spotlight today, from stalking and domestic violence to white-collar crime and political terrorism.
Dr. Samenow's three decades of working with criminals have reaffirmed his argument that factors such as poverty, divorce, and media violence do not cause criminality. Rather, as Samenow documents here, all criminals share a particular mind-set--often evident in childhood--that is disturbingly different from that of a responsible citizen.
While new types of crime have grown more prevalent, or at least more visible to the public eye--from spousal abuse to school shootings--little has changed in terms of our approach to dealing with crime. Rehabilitation programs based on the assumption that society is more to blame for crime than the criminal, an assumption for which a causal link has yet to be established, have proved to be grossly inadequate. Crime continues to invade every aspect of our lives, criminal court dockets and prisons are oppressively overcrowded and expensive, and recidivism rates continue to escalate.
To embark on a truly corrective program, we must begin with the clear understanding that the criminal chooses crime; he chooses to reject society long before society rejects him. The criminal values people only to the extent that he can use them for his own self-serving ends; he does not justify his actions to himself. Only by "habilitating" the criminal, so that he sees himself realistically and develops responsible patterns of thought, can we change his behavior.
It is vital that we know who the criminal is and how and why he acts differently from responsible citizens. From that understanding can come reasonable, compassionate, and effective solutions.