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The Will to Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder (4th Edition) Paperback – June 20, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0131375673 ISBN-10: 0131375679 Edition: 4th

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The Will to Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder (4th Edition) + American Swastika: Inside the White Power Movement's Hidden Spaces of Hate (Violence Prevention and Policy) + The Violence of Hate: Confronting Racism, Anti-Semitism, and Other Forms of Bigotry (3rd Edition)
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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 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The Will to Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder, 3/E

James Alan Fox, Northeastern University
Jack  Levin, Northeastern University
Kenna D Quinet, Indiana University, Purdue University, Indianapolis

ISBN-10:      0205516718
ISBN-13: 9780205516711
Publisher: Allyn & Bacon



This best selling homicide text examines “the will to kill” from various perspectives.


Written by world-renowned experts, this text presents an analysis of the nature and extent of homicide and the laws that apply to it. Included are detailed analyses of many different types of homicide, including those that involve:  family, youth, serial killing, mass murder, school, hate, terror and cults.  Public policy issues such as the insanity defense, the death penalty and investigative strategies are also covered.



New topics include:

Media coverage

Murder - Suicides

Physician-assisted deaths


Homegrown forms of terrorism

DNA testing

Behavioral profiling

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

About the Author

James Alan Fox and Jack Levin teach at Northeastern University and have coauthored a number of books, including Extreme Killing: Understanding Serial and Mass Murder and Dead Lines: Essays in Murder and Mayhem. Kenna Quinet, recipient of numerous teaching awards, is a faculty fellow at the Center for Urban Policy and the Environment and chair of the criminal justice, law and public safety faculty at Indiana University/Purdue University Indianapolis. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Col. Robert K. Ressler on April 14, 2001
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Zeldock on September 22, 2007
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Christopher J. Stormont on July 12, 2008
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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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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