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Unabomber: On the Trail of America's Most-Wanted Serial Killer Paperback – May 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; 1st edition (May 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671004115
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671004118
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #791,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Patricia Cornwell bestselling author of The Body Farm "John Douglas is the FBI's pioneer and master of investigative profiling, and one of the most exciting figures in law enforcement." -- Review

From the Publisher

When Federal Agents raided a remote Montana cabin to apprehend Theodore J. Kaczynski, the alleged Unabomber, they discovered what amounted to a one-room bomb factory. Now bestselling author John Douglas, the former FBI Unit Chief who originated the Unabomber profle, reveals the remarkable inside story behind the bureau's eighteen-year manhunt, the elusive Kaczynski, and his dramatic arrest. Douglas' expert knowledge and firsthand experience bring all aspects of this fascinating case to vivid life: the bomber's first calculated, daring attempts to severely injure his targets; his chilling turn to murder; the FBI's frustrating attempts to build an investigation; the controversy surrounding the Unabomber's manifesto; and the unexpected twists that brought the FBI to the outskirts of Lincoln, Montana. Go behind the scenes of one of the most painstaking, dangerous -- and secretive -- FBI investigations of our time, as John Douglas delves into the mind, methods, and madness of America's most-wanted serial killer.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By richard householder on April 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
...that it was printed right after Kazcinski was captured but before he pled guilty. So he is treated as a suspect here...and that's where I found it lacking. I wanted the definitive story but this was printed very early in the legal process.

In addition, the majority of the book is not about the case or the chase. There is alot of space devoted to another bombing case in New York City from the 40s or 50s. And a lot of space that covers the detective's history and the history of criminal profiling. Even further, there is a section devoted to another cops profile theory AND a large section that is a reprint of the Unabomber manifesto. So there is not a lot of original work from the author about the Unabomber case itself.

With that said, its pretty decent for what it is.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paula DeFrees on August 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
great book...scares the bejeebers out of you to think that a human being with such a brilliant mind could live like this and think up misery to invoke on others...
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on November 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
I felt like I was reading the notes for a book about the Unabomber, not a real book with a beginning, middle, and end. Usually true crime books make a sequential pass through the crimes (in this case 16 bombings) and end with the arrest, and sometimes the trial of the perp. Not so "Unabomber" where the author seems more interested in proving that his profile of the bomber was correct, rather than describing the hunt for the criminal. The 16 bombings are described in Appendix 1, "An Overview and Chronological Summary," rather than in the text of the book.

A manifesto on criminal profiling certainly wasn't what I expected from "Unabomber," but that's what I got.

Potential purchasers should also note that the book itself is only 150 pages long. Appendices and an advertisement for "Mindhunters" by John Douglas take up the latter 150 pages.

The book proper is padded out with stories that have little to do with the 'alleged' Unabomber, ('alleged' because "Unabomber" was published before Theodore Kaczynski was tried and convicted). These stories are interesting, especially the case of George Metesky, the 'Mad Bomber' of the '40s and '50s, who had a grudge against New York City's Consolidated Edison (Con Ed).

(George Metesky is the only bomber I've felt the faintest amount of sympathy for, maybe because I spent so many years working at an electric utility!)

The author also spends quite a bit of print defending the legitimacy of profiling as a forensic 'art.' His team's profile of Theodore Kaczynski (disgruntled genius with ties to academia) was accurate, although the Unabomber task force neglected it in favor of another profile (blue collar aviation worker). Neither profile was essential to the capture of Kaczynski.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JMack VINE VOICE on April 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
The book was intersting, but a bit to brief for my liking. The actual story of the Unabomber life took less than 150 pages. The book details each of his bombings and suggests the reasoning behind the target and M.O. Douglas also takes you through his thoughts in the investigation. Many readers feel Douglas is a bit arrogant in his writing. I do not agree with that opinion, nor do I feel this book is written that way.
The rest of the book was not very interesting outside of the inclusion of the full manifesto of the Unabomber. The manifesto contains nothing shocking, but contains what you might expect an outsider hermit radical to say. I'm sure there are better books about the Unabomber than this, so I suggest you try a more detailed account.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Rayner on November 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
I had never heard of John Douglas until one day my sister told me about this great book she was reading. She gave me a copy of 'Obession'. Now I am hooked ! What great reading all of his books are, from start to finish. I am now a fan. Looking forward to more books from this author.
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16 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Russell Errett on July 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
Douglas may present a clear chronology of events relating to the investigation of Unabomber. However, that is the sole limit of the books's worth. The remainder of the book is a staging ground for Douglas' brand of psycholinguistics, the analysis of a person's patterns of expression and thought in order to provide a psychological profile of the person. Instead of accomplishing that, though, in any meaningful way, Douglas perpetrates a sort of freehand poetic literary criticism on the so-called Manifesto. He completely fails to gain any insight into Unabomber's own statement of policy in "Industrial Society and Its Future". On page fifty-three, Douglas boils down his view by claiming simply that the Unabomber's fixation on wood and nature "...probably served as his rationale for setting the bombs off, his substitute for whatever deeper psychological problems had actually caused him to commit the crimes. A lot of violent terrorist activity is the result of political beliefs, but at the same time, I've never seen a violent terrorist yet who I didn't feel had deep psychological problems and a serious character disorder." Oh, yeh. Lest we forget, Douglas goes on: Unabomber "diabolical" too.
Douglas essentially claims that the Unabomber's activity is irrational and eludes sensible thought. That is Douglas' most egregious fundamental flaw. If he's serious in that claim, then he is less insightful than he himself seems to think he is. On the other hand, Douglas' apparent perspicasity in his craft leads me to think that he has another goal in mind: distributing disinformation to the segment of the citizenry who haven't yet bothered to read, consider, and ponder Unabomber's veritable position.
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