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Women Who Love Men Who Kill Paperback – April, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Journalist Isenberg writes about the little-known and unexplored phenomenon of women who seek and fall in love with one of society's most abusive elements: murderers. Assembling information from interviews, magazine and newspaper articles, television appearances, etc., Isenberg attempts to explain how these women (who are themselves often victims of abuse) feel compassion and a sense of power over the killer as long as he is safely locked behind bars. Her highly readable investigation is geared more toward popular psychology and true crime fans than people looking for in-depth psychological and statistical research.
- Marguerite Mroz, Baltimore Cty. P.L.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Journalist Isenberg provides a fascinating look at women ``compelled to dance with the masters of death''--women so obsessed with convicted murderers that they marry them, giving up all else in their lives, including their children, to fulfill their deepest fantasies. To find out about these women, Isenberg interviewed dozens of them, plus prison officials, police, psychiatrists, and psychologists. The profile that emerges is a sad one: ``little girls lost, reared in dysfunctional families where they were the victims of abuse at the hands of harsh dictatorial fathers aided by passive mothers.'' Damaged by their painful childhoods, they live in a fantasy world, in love not with a real man but with an illusion based on denial. Marrying a convicted killer is a way of having a relationship without ever having to get too close, Isenberg says--and it's a way of being in control of a powerful man as well. Serial killers and mass murderers, such as David Berkowitz, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and Hillside Stranglers Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono, offer a special bonus--the thrill of fame. Since many of these women have low self-esteem, the killer's notoriety provides a sense of worth: The bigger his crime, the more important she feels. Isenberg's skills in getting these women to reveal themselves, her ability to present them as sympathetic and understandable, and her synthesis of the material they provided make for an engrossing report. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse; 3 edition (April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595003990
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595003990
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,309,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By ALMOSTA Rd on March 1, 2008
Verified Purchase
It's been a few years since I read this, and some of it blurs a bit with time. As of the reading, my now ex-wife had believed she was in love with a gentleman doing life for the murder of his own wife. I felt a need to gain some understanding for this incredibly bizarre manifestation of her then current needs.

Although most of the analyses of the author as to cause did not seem at all applicable in our particular case, some things did stand out. I remember reading of the building excitement and anticipation visitors would feel about an upcoming visit and the feelings they experienced going into the instition and having the doors close behind them. Then comes that exultation of finally seeing their love 'across a crowded room', and having someone's undivided attention for a time was a reward. Inevitably, there was the exquisite pain of parting and being figuratively ripped from the loving grasp of one's partner and leaving them to the mercy of cruel guards and the other, truly guilty inmates.

My ex had been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, and there seemed to be definite parallels to those happenings and needs experienced by those who experience addiction to the exciting highs and debilitating lows in living with that difficulty. For some reason, this insight helped me to realize enough about her needs and motives to recognize that I would never actually fully understand, and it would be futile to attempt to do so. This pretty much freed me get on with my own life, and I thank the author for helping with this insight.

If you read this hoping to gain some insights in a particular situation, it may possibly be of help. As I recall, the author did not explore in much detail some of the possible motives and needs of visitors.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 9, 2001
In my job as a social worker I have encountered women like the ones that Isenberg describes in her book. I found her book to be insightful and, although it reads like a page-turner, I find myself referring to it frequently in my work.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 18, 2002
The author is simplistic, repetitive, and amateurish. This book is already 12 years old. It would be interesting to go back and reinterview the case studies and
see how the women in the chapters are doing now...
Certainly needs to be updated.
One thing the author says is not true...that women who love men who kill...always believe their men are innocent. WRONG.
Sheila, go back and revisit these women and write WWLMWK part two!!!
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 12, 2001
Women Who Love Men Who Kill is a fantastic read. It sheds enormous light on the lives of women who go to the edge and fall in love with murderers. They don't just fall in love with convicted killers, they support them, provide them with all their needs while in prison and advocate diligently for their release. The author generates profiles of these women and provides analytic insights about their motives. This is forensic science with a behavioral approach written for the lay person by a writer who knows her subject. The book is shocking, exciting and intense. It evokes the reader's concerns about how these things are possible. After reading this book you will know why.
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Rather weird but figured it would be. But it give you a reason shy women who love men who kill! It was interesting. You wonder about these things. This give you some of the reasons.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 15, 2000
When I began reading "Women Who Love Men who Kill" I could not put the book down. I remember after reading the book, I was in shock about the way certain women could so easily fall in love with murderers. "Women Who Love Men who Kill" gave an emotinal yet unbiased perspective on the darker side of love. I highly recommend this book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Baranabus on June 12, 2012
I'm glad someone tackled this subject; I read a lot of criminal psych stuff and I've always wondered about this. I can't validate or disprove her conclusions though. They seem intuitively accurate though, how someone might want someone aggressive who can't hurt them. But her prose was really bad; I remember her using the phrase "dizzying dance with death" more than once, as if it was such a good line, she couldn't help but use it twice. It was very tabloid-ish. But I think this topic needs more serious research.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Judy Lambirth on February 13, 2001
When this book title caught my eye on the book shelve, I purchased it immediatly...when I got home I started reading it , and could not put it down until I had read to the last page. To my surprise there were a couple of wives and their stories, that I have actually met, one of which I had became friends with..and knowing her story, it was not hard to identify her In the book. As a wife of a California Department of Corrections Inmate, I can relate to these stories even though my husband Is not a killer. It is a very informational book for any person that has a family member, loved one or friend that is incarsarated.
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