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The Myth of the Out of Character Crime Paperback – September 14, 2010
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"Drawing on his firsthand experiences of interviewing and treating such offenders, Samenow offers numerous case examples of everyday people committing extraordinary crimes, among them the Washington, D.C. sniper Lee Malvo. For law enforcement personnel, criminal justice professionals, criminologists, students, and interested general readers." - SciTech Book News --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"This excellent book is of great value to professionals in the area of criminal justice and to the general public--to anyone who wants to understand criminal behavior that often seems both shocking and difficult to comprehend. Dr. Samenow shows readers the keys to criminal behavior; he takes what seems unexplainable and makes it clear!" (D. Quinn Mills, Professor, Harvard Business School)
"Once again, Dr. Stanton Samenow, an internationally renowned authority on this subject, has written a powerful essay on the origins and management of criminals and criminal behavior. Every professional and layman seriously interested in this area should read this thoughtful, experience-based-and often provocative-book." (Melvin A. Gravitz, Ph.D., Certified, American Board of Forensic Psychology)
"We are stunned when an accomplished, talented, seemingly responsible person commits a horrific crime. It seems out of character! In his new book, Dr. Samenow explains the seemingly unexplainable. The reader is able to look over this forensic psychologist's shoulder as he figures out the context for the crime. He finds telltale clues in the offender's thinking patterns that reveal that the out of character crime is actually very much in character." (John Douglas, Former FBI Profiler, Author of Unabomber and Mindhunter)
"This book is the latest of Dr. Samenow's classics on the subject of the criminal personality. It will provide any reader with realistic insight into the dynamics of the deviant thinking that produces criminal behavior. It will be of interest and has educational value for the layperson, friends and family of criminals and victims, corrections professionals, and mental health professionals. Having been a trial lawyer for eight years and a trial court judge for 32 years, I have come to value Dr. Samenow's several books for the depth of insight and realism provided. I have seen no case, and have heard of none, that does not provide additional support for Dr. Samenow's inspired discernment into the workings of criminal personalities." (Bryan T. Hodges, Senior Judge, State of Oregon)
"This well-written book is a page turner that should be read by law enforcement personnel, criminal attorneys, judges, and corrections officials. The book is also a must-read for criminologists and students aspiring to work in the field of criminology. The reader will gain fresh insights into criminal behavior from a seasoned psychologist who has spent countless hours interviewing every type of criminal imaginable from shoplifters to child molesters to spree killers." (Terry Leap, Author of Dishonest Dollars: The Dynamics of White-Collar Crime) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Of course, this book is a lot better than much of the regurgitated paplum that I see foisted upon students in universities, but I judge it by the standard of his best efforts. It is easy to read, and you can dip in and out of it easily. It would make a good read on a train ride, for instance.
Stanton Samenow is famous for his careful study of the thinking errors of criminals, developed over years from talking with criminals. His three-volume work, The Criminal Personality, his book Inside the Criminal Mind, and a book for parents to help keep their children from being criminals are so valuable. This is like the icing on the cake because so many people really think that a crime performed by someone they knew little about was "out of the blue." Dr. Samenow points out that they had a criminal personality with many different ways of operating than the normal moral and responsible person functions. The book is so easy to read. And it has the analysis of the young man Malvo whom we all remember as one of the two men who shot people from the trunk of their car for no reason at all. Actually, it is deceptively easy to read because the material Samenow discovered with criminals took years and years of research to develop. The subject is not simple at all! And those of us in psychology will be forever endebted to this man for his important work.
The reason I bought this book was that, as an author, I wanted to know something about villains. As it happens, my father was in the New Zealand Police, so I had some concept of criminals, however our criminals always seemed to me to be self-centred, irresponsible individuals that wanted to dominate, and who felt the world owed them something. They were also people who seemed to have no concept of what their actions were doing to others. One way or another, I felt these were a particularly bad sample, and I bought this book to get some clues as to "real criminals". What I found was that they were not that much different, except that the author has a much clearer way of describing what is wrong with them.
What I particularly liked about this book is that the author maintains a professional scientific approach to his enquiries without looping off into unnecessary jargon. He shows clear procedures to patiently acquire the facts without letting his own biases into the picture (although I suspect he would hardly be human if occasionally something did not get the better of him) then he shows logically why this defines the character that committed the crime, which was totally "in character". He also shows that the errors of thinking that lead to such a crime are present in most people to some extent. The difference is that when we wallow for a while in self-pity due to rejection, we get over it and proceed to deal properly with the situation, and move on. The criminal does not, and eventually does something that he knows is wrong, and would not tolerate it in anyone else. In some ways, the analysis is depressing, but I think this is an excellent book for anyone wanting some understanding of the criminal mind.
Ian Miller, author of Troubles.