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Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial…

Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit (1995)

by John Douglas

Other authors: Mark Olshaker

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1,490157,630 (3.76)24
Recently added byprivate library, mariaav1, amullett, ksmedberg, LisaBurns1066, KarlaRS
  1. 30
    Whoever Fights Monsters by Robert K. Ressler (Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: Both are about early FBI profilers attempting to understand the minds of serial killers. Mindhunter is the more dramatically written while Whoever Fights Monsters included more specifics on profiling itself.

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» See also 24 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
People are crazy and thanks to these guys they figured out way to find the crazies. Hard to believe this book is 20 years old. Not sure if I want to read about the current crime stories, but I am sure it would be just as fascinating. ( )
  ksmedberg | Jun 12, 2019 |
There's no denying that John Douglas, those who came before him, and those who came after him have helped shape the ideas of profiling and criminal investigation in popular culture. Given the many ways media take shortcuts with investigative procedure, it's quite interesting to get more accurate information straight from the source.

It's also fitting that Douglas comes across as a person who's difficult to like. There's an arrogant undertone to his writing and a bit of narcissistic flair to the way he developed, shaped, and writes about his programs. And that makes sense: it takes a hell of a lot of self-confidence to completely overhaul a division of the FBI. What colors my professional opinion of Douglas, though, is his disdain for science, research, and criticism.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote an interesting article for the New Yorker discussing research that's been done into Douglas's strain of profiling and that has questioned its efficacy. The researchers and Gladwell are right: Douglas's approach is not based any sort of psychological science that would hold water and moreover, Douglas is very dismissive about that fact and the academics who are critical of him. Douglas had some academic psychological training and holds a Ph.D. Training in his era wasn't heavily research-based, but standards in the field have changed significantly over time and he should have kept up with them, especially as he was developing techniques he's taught to thousands of people.

There's an NPR follow-up to Gladwell's New Yorker article, wherein Douglas artfully avoids answering most of the questions posed to him. Over time, we've also come to learn that many of the foundational forensic science practices (fingerprints, dental impressions, fire science) aren't nearly as accurate as we thought they were and certainly aren't as accurate as they need to be.

If you're picking up this book, I think it's definitely worth falling down the rabbit hole and looking at the criticisms of current forensic science. It's fascinating and, should you ever be called for jury duty, I'm sure all parties involved will welcome have an educated and informed juror. ( )
  mediumofballpoint | Mar 4, 2019 |
A bit slow at times, but very interesting. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
Bored to tears. Pedantic and not at all thrilling. Abandoned at 17%. ( )
  TheBibliophage | Mar 20, 2018 |
This was a fascinating look at how criminal profiling got started in the FBI, written by the man who was so integral to its application. Douglas discusses in detail how profiling was used in many infamous, as well as lesser-known, cases (so detailed that it sometimes got hard to read because of what he was describing). I did feel the book, particularly the early chapters, sometimes felt too much like a biography of Douglas, as opposed to a focus on profiling, and that Douglas sometimes came across as bragging a little too much. But everything he accomplished with his team is amazing, and so interesting. ( )
  seasonsoflove | Jul 8, 2017 |
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John Douglasprimary authorall editionscalculated
Olshaker, Marksecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Foul deeds will rise,
Though all the earth o'erwhelm them,
to men's eyes.
—William Shakespeare,
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I must be in hell. It was the only logical explanation.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0671528904, Mass Market Paperback)

Mindhunter enters the minds of some of the country's most notorious serial killers to tell the real-life story of the Investigative Support Unit (ISU) -- the FBI's special force that has assisted state and local police in cracking some of the country's most celebrated serial murder and rape cases. The unit specializes in understanding the chemistry and mechanical workings of the brain's of these serial criminals, and did its homework by interviewing such murderers as Charles Manson and David Berkowitz (the Son of Sam). John Douglas, who worked for the FBI for 25 years, is an authority on the unit, and his book combines the best of nonfiction with that of a murder mystery.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:15 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The head of the FBI's investigative unit that deals with serial killers demonstrates his celebrated talent for getting inside their minds.

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