- 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: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #639,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Women Who Love Men Who Kill 3rd Edition
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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.
Top customer reviews
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So the basis for these less-than stellar reviews on these ratings from these social media platforms? One, a couple of reviews that clearly are the result of personal attacks, one subject line reading, "Don't stereotype me, Ms. Isenberg." The other category seemed to be those who wanted to judge quickly those they assume are judging quickly.
While the dearth of studies about such women is itself disturbing and only helps to confirm the hero worship of serial murderers, who are of course mostly male. The women who love them, however, are mostly the scream-fodder of self-righteous talk show hosts. Isenberg offers a more complex view of the trade off of power and dependency in these relationships and other levels of wish-fulfillment and histories of abuse. Isenberg might be a little acerbic at times, but the overall complexity is impressive.
The denial and disconnect with these women is a fascinating study. It is a group women whose own feelings got so suppressed by their dominating fathers (who may have been more than domineering) and by their disconnected passive mothers. Not being able to express their rage at their own lives they are drawn to men who expressed their "feelings" to the utmost and murdered another human being. This seems to be the draw.
These women have as great of facades in their communities in terms of looking like they lead a proper, esteemed and engaged lives when their facades remind me of profiles of sex offenders. They look good and normal, but who they are drawn to exposes the truth of their lives.
These women sometimes turned their backs on their own children in their engagement with this pathology they believe to be a "relationship."
There, indeed, are men who murdered who found redemption and go on to a proper life. But with those men it is THEIR redemption as a result of their actions. For women whose pathology seeks out a concomitant pathology, it can do the opposite of redemption; and prevent a prisoner from focusing on and taking redemptive actions.
While this is about murderers, it's likely this type of female may also be involved with non-murderers in prison.
If a study could go deeper into the complexities of the women's families of origin that would be another interesting book to read. Maybe it's the same profile for women who end up with sex offenders and who turn their backs on their children?
A good book, well written.
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. In my instance, I felt that she could have delved into such things as control issues; elimination of responsibility for others, both financially and emotionally; a quest for adventure/drama in ones' life; and even a few others. She deserves great credit and admiration for tackling a difficult and depressing subject and helping others understand what can go on in such incredibly bizarre circumstances. It isn't hard to extrapolate what loving families must go through as they also must pay for mistakes of incarcerated relatives and friends. While not a comprehensive treatise on a subject that would require volumes, the author's effort provides valuable insights and examples. And as much as we'd like to forget that others still share such circumstances, the fact is that they do. My hope is that the author's efforts still are able to bring readers a valuable measure of information and understanding, and, as in my case, a measure of peace. Personally, I'm very grateful to her. ~EdMac