Industrial-Sized Deals Shop all Back to School Shop Women's Handbags Learn more nav_sap_plcc_6M_fly_beacon $5 Albums $5 Off Fire TV Stick Grocery Shop Popular Services pivdl pivdl pivdl  Amazon Echo Starting at $99 Kindle Voyage Nintendo Digital Games Big Savings in the Amazon Fall Sportsman Event Baby Sale
The Anatomy Of Motive and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This item is gently used in good or better condition. If it is a textbook it may not have supplements. It may have some moderate wear and possibly include previous ownerâ€TMs name, some markings and/or is a former library book. We ship within 1 business day and offer no hassle returns. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Anatomy of Motive: The FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Explores the Key to Understanding and Catching Violent Criminals Hardcover – June 15, 1999

149 customer reviews

See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
Hardcover, June 15, 1999
$4.65 $0.01

Best Books of the Year So Far
Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2015's Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Editorial Reviews Review

What makes people kill? Specifically, what are the motivations behind serial, mass, and spree killings? Drawing from cases such as the mass murder in Dunblane, Scotland, in which a lone gunman mowed down 16 children and their teacher, the still-unsolved Tylenol poisonings, and the Unabomber, former FBI profiler John Douglas and coauthor Mark Olshaker try to explain the unthinkable. What sets The Anatomy of Motive apart from so many of the theories about these horrific acts of violence is that Douglas and Olshaker have no obvious political agenda. They don't look for easy answers and they don't provide easy solutions. They do, however, offer some insight into the twisted kind of thinking that can lead a person to believe that the solution to his problems lies in bloodshed. They also provide some danger signs that may help to identify the potentially violent criminal before he has a chance to act out his morbid fantasies. While The Anatomy of Motive is undeniably horrifying, it is also illuminating, and Douglas and Olshaker approach their topic with grace and insight. --Lisa Higgins

From Publishers Weekly

A volume of case studies by Douglas, the former chief profiler at the FBI's legendary behavioral sciences unit, and Olshaker has become an annual event, from 1995's Mind Hunter to last year's Obsession. Here, the duo exhume the victims of Andrew Cunanan, Charles Whitman, Theodore Kaczynski and many others for insight into the killers' minds. Douglas's formula is deceptively simple: "WHY? + HOW? = WHO." But since serial killers are rarely caught through profiling, the formula is better expressed as "WHO + HOW = WHY." Douglas is tops in the field. He was among the first to suggest that the Atlanta child murderer was African-American, and he delivered a dead-on profile of Scottish mass-murderer Thomas Watt Hamilton on live TV based on preliminary news accounts. Still, most of what's here will be familiar to readers of other profiling books: the lonely white male with an obsessive sense of his own failure who tortured animals, wet his bed and played with matches as a child. Though Douglas promises to explain the differences among bombers, arsonists, shooters, cutters and stranglers, his profiles too often cleave to predictable, reductive formulations. Both Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby are characterized as "paranoid losers"; Timothy McVeigh is "a scrawny, pissed-off young hick." As always, Douglas and Olshaker deliver an entertaining read, but fewer case studies presented with more depth would better inform and educate the amateur profiler. (June)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

See all Editorial Reviews

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (June 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684845989
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684845982
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #330,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Pajamazon VINE VOICE on January 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Douglas has trod this ground before, but never so well as this book. It's my favorite of his writings. Some critics claim that Douglas is unbearably arrogant about his work, but with his track record, who can blame him? Criminal profiling has got to be one of the most fascinating subjects; a science combining intuition, detective work, and common sense.

Douglas gives overviews of different types of killers: serial, mass, spree, and tells how they differ from each other. Those profiled include Andrew Cunanan and the Tylenol poisoner. Douglas also profiles two of the most intriguing killers, in my opinion, John List and Charles Whitman. Two more different people could not exist, and yet they both resorted (chose, in Douglas' opinion) to murder. Douglas main refrain is that these people, through a combination of physiological and psychological factors, environmental conditions, and situation stressors, choose to take the course they do. That is, lots of people may have a brutal upbringing and negative life situations, but do not kill people. So, it is a choice, and not a compulsion they cannot avoid (as Douglas puts it, none of these killers would murder while a uniformed policeman stood nearby).

At the end of the book, Douglas gives us four scenarios and gives us an opportunity to figure out whodunit. If you've been reading carefully, he says, you should be able to tell. I got three out of the four, so I guess I'm headed for the FBI academy!

If you like Douglas' work and writing, you will enjoy this book.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 17, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the third book I've read of John Douglas. Mindhunter and Journey into Darkness are the other two. If you're anything like me, you are absolutely repulsed by the crimes these creatures commit...but you're curious about it, too. I mean, HOW can any human being do things that Mr. Douglas describes in his books to another human being. As much as I am repulsed by this behavior, I am strangely fascinated by it. What makes them tick?
John Douglas helps answer this question. Straight-forward description of events, explanations behind the crimes. He describes what happens underneath the surface of these crimes and how this will help point to motive. And ultimately, that's what's important: WHY? Because when you find out HOW, you can figure out WHY, and this will help lead to WHO, as John Douglas explains in his book.
This book will interest anyone that reads suspense, thriller, or horror genres. Authors like Tom Clancy, Stephen King, Jeffery Deaver, Thomas Harris, Patricia Cornwell, and the likes: If you read any of these authors, read John Douglas's books, especially The Anatomy of Motive. What it may lack in suspense (he writes these books not so much to keep you guessing "what next," or anything like that), it more than makes up for in the fact that EVERYTHING HE TELLS YOU, ACTUALLY HAPPENED!
And not that the "lack of suspense" makes this book boring. This couldn't be further from the truth. Case in point: John Douglas will not just describe a crime and an investigation into the Whodunnit, he's going to take you inside the mind of serial killers, mass killers, spree killers, assassins, arsonists, poisoners, kidnappings, and more. That's what's so terrifying: You're inside the mind of a killer, and for once you're not asking "How can a freak like this do such a thing to another human?" because it suddenly makes sense. SPOOKY!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By JMack VINE VOICE on June 4, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Some people believe that John Douglas comes off as a bit arrogant in his writing, and I could not agree more. However, once the reader is able to get past the author's arrogance, the author compiles a very interesting read.
Douglas takes into account all of the types of killers including arsonists, assasins, poisoners, bombers, serial, killers, mass murders, and spree killers. He goes into detail to explain who is likely to commit the specific crime and what makes them snap to go on their murderous rampage. Once the author gets into a specific story it is hard to put this book down.
The final chapter allows the reader to try some profiling of his/her own on some specific case. For this reason, the last chapter is called "you make the call."
Overall, I enjoyed this book and would suggest it to all true crime fans. Just for the record, I do intend to read some of Douglas's other books in the future, based on my enjoyment of this book and the other book I have read and reviewed by him.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By B. Wingfield on September 25, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Douglas doesn't claim that anyone is born bad. He's delved into what turns human beings into monsters, often an abusive upbringing, and in fact has often stated that programs like Head Start are the best way to prevent serial killers and rapists, and crime in general. He merely states that by the time he or other law enforcement officers get involved it is far too late to fix anything. Someone like John Wayne Gacy could have been helped while he was a child, but by the time the FBI is involved he's already learned that he enjoys killing. Douglas' job isn't to try and undo decades of mental developement, it is to render a very sick person incapable of doing further harm.
As for calling these men cowards, I don't know what else to call a man who preys on the weak to bolster his self esteem.
Douglas and Olshaker make a great writing team. Anyone who has in interest in investigation, psychology, or criminal justice should read all of their collaborative efforts.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: forensic, true crime books murder, violence