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The Mind of a Madman: Norway's struggle to understand Anders Breivik (Kindle Single) by [Orange, Richard]
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The Mind of a Madman: Norway's struggle to understand Anders Breivik (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Length: 108 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Is Anders Behring Breivik insane? Though Norway's highest courts have ruled no, the question is fraught. For many, it would appear that any murderer of 77 innocent civilians would be declared certifiably insane. But conflicting reports of Breivik's sanity have emerged since day one of the investigation into his brutal attacks, and the answer remains murky. Why does it even matter? Norway's justice system functions differently from America's. There, if someone is declared legally insane, they cannot be sentenced to the prison time that a sane criminal would be forced to serve. The overly humane courts show extreme leniency for society's unstable, preferring to rehabilitate them via sanitarium. The "insane" convict, therefore, spends time in a mental ward until he or she is declared ready to reenter society. In the case of Breivik, were he declared insane, he may have been released back onto Norwegian streets in a matter of a few years--a devastating reality for Norway's people, one in four of whom were directly affected by the twin attacks of July 2011. Richard Orange, Scandinavia correspondent for the UK's The Telegraph, has followed the case closely since its inception. In The Mind of a Madman, Orange details the rollercoaster ride that was Breivik's trial, questioning whether the ultimate declaration of Breivik's lucidity was indeed the right one, or whether his sanity was sanitized to ensure his imprisonment. --Raya Jalabi

Product Details

  • File Size: 318 KB
  • Print Length: 108 pages
  • Publication Date: September 4, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0096CGDTK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,207 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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I was living in Oslo at the time of the July 22 attacks. I have followed the news coverage in Norwegian since then and this is the best English language summary of the perpetrator's crime and trial. Unlike most English language reports, which rely on snippets of the most sensational aspects of the case, this Kindle Single provides a good overview of each stage of the case in a short, but comprehensive, package. In particular, this account provides the best explanation I have read of the very complex mental health debate surrounding the perpetrator's state of mind and motives, which was the central issue of the entire legal proceeding. I am eagerly awaiting similar English language accounts of the extraordinary rational response of the Norwegian government and people to this atrocity.
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Every time I hear about someone doing something like this, I wonder, "How can a human being get to this point? Was he/she born that way? What happened to him? What was he thinking?" No one really has the answers, but there has to be some explanation. The author went to great length to try to understand Mr. Breivik, to see what motivated him. It was interesting and, of course, very sad. All those innocent young people who didn't get to live their lives.

Also, I was struck by the humane attitude of the court system in Norway. They want to be very sure not to punish someone who is schizophrenic, but to put them in a hospital.
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This is a book which I found very interesting and contempory in todays politic environment around the world - extreme ideologies - both right wing and radical Islam. The book was factual with an accessable litery style. I found it fasinating that the author high lighted the bizarre similarity between extreme ideological belief and being dillusional.
What I also loved was the emphasis based on the importance of cultural insight for psychiatrists when diagnosing a psychiatric condition.

For me the book was more than just understanding "The mind of a madman"
I loved the insight into Norways very liberal democratic and humane legal system. I would like to read more books from this journalist on his experience with radical ideologies and societies that use Religion as a tool to advocate violence against fellow human beings.
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For this reader, the incidents that took place on Norway's the island of Utøya and at the government buildings in Oslo, in Norway in July 2011 came as a shock, as it did for much of the world. Many of us read the news reports on the 'Net, which for me were primarily coming in English from publications in the UK. That's where I first encountered the reporting of freelance journalist Richard Orange.

In his book The Mind of a Madman: Norway's struggle to understand Anders Breivik, released here as a Kindle Single, the author has presented us with a surprising look into the mind of mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, starting from when he first surfaced at Utøya on that horrific July day in his wetsuit and began his bloodbath. This was to become the biggest peacetime massacre ever carried out by a single gunman.

The author takes us into a largely chronological look at Anders Behring Breivik, where the Norwegian media began reporting the attack on Utøya, even before the police arrived. Then the reports began that the murderer wasn't an Islamic terrorist, a member of the jihadi group called Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami, as had been conveyed earlier in the day: he was a blond, blue-eyed Norwegian.

Days before the attacks, Breivik had anonymously sent a declaration document via email to over 1,000 addresses about 90 minutes before the bomb blast in Oslo, and one of the recipients a copy of it on an Internet forum, where it went viral within hours. This 1500-page manifesto, which carried the title "2083: A European Declaration of Independence," was signed Andrew Berwick, a pseudonym for Anders Breivik.
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I didn't follow the Norway tragedy at all in the news when it happened. Just too depressing. This book isn't gruesome or overly descriptive in reference to the violence. It really covers the court case and how dr.s and professionals don't want to believe that someone could kill for a believed cause and not be crazy. In Breivik's case it was his anti islamic sentiment. Very interesting.
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This book is a straight reporting of the Brevik case. Anders Breivik is the perpetrator of the 2011 Norway attacks. He bombed government buildings in Oslo, resulting in eight deaths, then carried out a mass shooting at a camp of the Youth League of the Norwegian Labour Party on the island of Utøya, where he killed 69 people, nearly all teenagers.

We did not really go into Brevik's mind rather the legal and psychological discussion about his state of mind. It is therefore a bit dry when it could have been brimming with discussion and ideas. Did he commit a crime in the sense he knowingly murdered or was it madness? The unsettling conclusion was that if he did not have a shared right wing ideology with others of the European far right he may have been declared mad. One set of psychologists decided he was mad because he believed that there was Holy War in Europe between Christians and Muslims. The other set said he was NOT mad because he others of the far right believed this too even though a detached rational observer would see this as delusional.

The question that went begging was Brevik's fascination with far right politics and terrorism a type of madness in itself, or indeed if far right politics is a shared psychosis? And therefore to what extent is all politics a shared delusion?

The other clincher for the decision of the court to treat him as sane was that he was able to plan and execute this crime. An insane person does not have the wherewithal to carry out a plan that takes months of preparation to fruition. So one is sane because one can carry out horrible crimes and insane if you can't?
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