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The Will to Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder (4th Edition) 4th Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0131375673
ISBN-10: 0131375679
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

World-renowned experts Fox, Levin, and Quinet explore the general theory of power and control as a central and unifying thesis for understanding why people kill.

Each chapter explores a different sub-type of homicide and the circumstances in which people kill each other. Case studies in each chapter use recent well-known examples that are relevant to public policy. The authors discuss how politicians use high-profile cases to change the criminal law or to secure funding for programs and policies to reduce violence, and how these high-profile cases shape public opinion about homicide.

The Will to Kill, Second Edition, includes three new chapters:

  • Chapter 8, “Medical Murder,” examines homicides committed within health care settings.
  • Chapter 11, “Murderous Terror,” includes the tragic events of September 11th, 2001 and discusses issues of homegrown forms of terrorism.
  • Chapter 13, “Catching Killers,” reviews a wide variety of investigative approaches, especially DNA testing and behavioral profiling.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Fox is Professor and Dean of the College of Criminal Justice, Northeastern University, Boston, MA.

Jack Levin is the Brudnick Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Criminology at Northeastern University, where he co-directs its Center on Violence and Conflict and teaches the sociology of violence and hate. He has authored or co-authored 31 books, including Serial Killers and Sadistic Murderers Up Close and Personal and The Violence of Hate. He has published more than 100 articles in professional journals and books and more than 150 columns in major newspapers, such as The New York Times, The Sunday London Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and USA Today. In 2013, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Crime and Delinquency from the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP). Levin has spoken to a wide variety of community, academic, and professional groups, including the White House Conference on Hate Crimes, the National Organization of Hostage Negotiators, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Kenna Quinet is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Law and Public Safety in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI. She is also a Faculty Fellow of the Indiana University Public Policy Institute, Center for Criminal Justice Research. Her primary research interests are homicide, missing persons, unidentified dead, and unclaimed dead. Kenna was co-chair of the 2010 Program Committee for the American Society of Criminology's annual conference in San Francisco.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 4 edition (June 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131375679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131375673
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Alan Fox is the Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law and Public Policy, holding a joint faculty appointment in the College of Criminal Justice and the Law, Policy and Society Program at Northeastern University. He has written 18 books, including The Will to Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder (Allyn & Bacon), Extreme Killing: Understanding Serial and Mass Murder (Sage) and a forthcoming title, Violence and Security on Campus: From Preschool through College (Praeger). He has published dozens of journal and magazine articles, primarily in the areas of multiple murder, youth crime, school and campus violence, workplace violence, and capital punishment. He has also published nearly 200 op-ed columns in newspapers around the country, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe and USA Today, and wrote a bi-weekly column in the Boston Herald in 2006-2007. As an authority on homicide, he frequently appears on national television news programs, including the Today Show, Meet the Press, Dateline, and 20/20, and is regularly interviewed by the press. He was profiled in a two-part cover story in USA Today, in feature stories in the New York Times and the Scientific American, as well as in other media outlets. He also served as a consulting contributor for Fox News following the 9/11 terrorist attack and as an NBC News Analyst during the DC Sniper case. Fox often gives lectures and expert testimony, including over 100 keynote or campus-wide addresses around the country, 16 appearances before the U.S. Congress, White House meetings with President and Mrs. Clinton and Vice President Gore on youth violence, private briefings to Attorney General Reno on trends in violence, and a presentation for Princess Anne of Great Britain. He served on President Clinton's advisory committee on school shootings, and a Department of Education Expert Panel on Safe, Disciplined and Drug-Free Schools. He chaired a blue ribbon panel for the city of Seattle investigating the March 2006 Capitol Hill massacre, and has been a visiting fellow with the Bureau of Justice Statistics focusing on the measurement of homicide trends. Finally, Fox was honored in 2007 by the Massachusetts Committee against the Death Penalty with the Hugo Adam Bedau Award for excellence in capital punishment scholarship and by Northeastern University with the 2008 Klein Lectureship.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Of the many books writen on the topic of Homicide, THE WILL TO KILL is unique in that it covers the topic from a perspective that is interesting to the casual true crime fan and yet is an invaluable resource to the serious professional who delves into the grisly world of murder.
Levin & Fox have produced several serious works on the topic of homicide and all reflect the fact that the authors are academically qualified professionals who definitely know their business. THE WILL TO KILL covers all bases from the chapter on "The Law of Homicide" which provides the reader with specific legal definitions of the various catagories of murder, to the victimology of murder and statistical information on a local and world occurance of the phenomonon to put the entire topic into regional and global perspective. This infomation is of great value to the professional in the field of criminology as well as to the student in the criminal justice and related fields.
Whereas traditional and historical forms of homicide are explored such as serial, mass and cult motivated murders, the new and recent trends of murder are also covered such as school shootings, workplace violence and hate motivated murder. The disturbing trend of youthful killing is discussed with predictions for furture involvement of America's violent young people. Finally, the last chapter of this work, "Getting Away with Murder" looks at the insanity defense and the dilemma of handling youthful killers in the courts. Capital punishment is also a topic of the last chapter.
Throughout the book, interesting and informative case studies are cited which provide the reader with direction for further research on the topic.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The subtitle and back-cover blurb for "The Will to Kill" are misleading. This volume does not "Explain[] Senseless Murder," nor does it (contrary to what the back cover says) "answer [the] age-old question" of "Why do people kill?" by "showing that power and control are at the center of the killer's motivation."

A better subtitle would be "An Introduction to the Study of Murder." Only one chapter (Chapter 2, about 25 pages) actually deals with WHY people kill, and even that chapter does not advance a particular thesis. Rather, it provides a (somewhat superficial) review of major theories.

The other chapters discuss homicide law in the United States, U.S. demographics relating to murder, investigation of murders, punishment of convicted murderers, and eight categories of murder (serial murder, mass murder, family murder, etc.). At their best, the authors do a good job of presenting the relevant statistics and illustrating their points with specific cases mostly from the past 20 years. At their worst, they venture into facile policy recommendations.

On balance, this is a good overview of the issues involved in the study of murder in the USA.
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Format: Paperback
A very intriguing book that tackles perhaps the most challenging question of human behavior. A thorough, scientific approach, but easy to read and entertaining in a macabre way. Well worth the price paid.
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The shipping was pretty much next-day. It was on my doorstep when I returned form class. I was expecting a barely-readable book, just to get me through this semester but the book I received looked like it came straight off of a bookstore shelf. The spine is still rigid and everything. There is not a mark in it, and I am more than happy to return it in the same way. Thank you.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I only give it a three because I can't read it well on my kindle, I have to read it on my computer and even then I still had to zoom in because the print is so small. I need this book for a class, and if I'd known how it would appear on my kindle I would have bought the actual book instead. On the kindle it doesn't fit text to screen.
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The Will to Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder (4th Edition)
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