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The Serial Killers: A Study in the Psychology of Violence

3.56  ·  Rating Details  ·  271 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
As the number of serial killers worldwide has risen steadily - from the emergence of Jack the Ripper in 1888 to Harold Shipman and Ivan Milat, the backpacker killer of the Australian outback - the need to understand mass murder is becoming more urgent.





Using privileged access to the world's first National Centre for the Analysis of Violent Crime, Colin Wilson and Donald Sea
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ebook, 416 pages
Published May 31st 2011 by Virgin Digital (first published 1990)
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(showing 1-30 of 697)
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Paul Impola
Dec 26, 2013 Paul Impola rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is not worth the time it took to read it.
There is plenty of gory detail, for fans of that sort of thing. But the book jumps from topic to topic with no perceptible logical structure. And the author makes sweeping generalization without a scrap of evidence to back them up. For example, he announces that political radicals have the same motivation for their actions as serial killers.
But worst of all are the errors in basic factual information. He states that Ted Bundy almost always drove
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Elementary Particle
The book referrs to most of the well-known serial killers and it does not spare the usual gory descriptions. It also has a few "smart" referrences (as I would call them), to Abraham Maslow, William James, Auguste de Villiers de I'sle-Adam and others.

However, there are some referrences that made me dislike the book because they are sending it straight into the mud of pseudoscience/paranormal. First off, the author seems to endorse the idea of demonic posession in the case of a certain killer. Se
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M
May 07, 2014 M rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For anyone familiar with serial killers (hopefully not too familiar), this covers a lot of old ground. I was also a little concerned by some of Wilson's theorising - his thoughts on the male sexual urge seemed to be that men just want to do it with anyone, anytime, anywhere, and if thwarted they will become sex murderers. Hmm, that seems a bit unfair to men - I am sure they are more three-dimensional than that, right? His idea that we're all going mad because we're so tightly packed into cities ...more
Stephen McQuiggan
Jan 20, 2016 Stephen McQuiggan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating account of the history of sex crime and the explosion of the serial killer in the late 20th Century which eventually led to the breakthrough of profiling in Quantico, Virginia; painstakingly drawing clues from seemingly 'clean scenes', and finally getting some sort of handle on what appear, on the surface, to be unsolvable crimes. And what debauched crimes they are - Cameron Hooker taking a severed head into a shower, in particular, is one of those moments when you realise truth re ...more
Jay
So, where to start?

There's nothing inherently bad about this book, except for the fact that it is. Most of it, especially the first few stories of serial killers, feel as though they were written by high schoolers for their final essay. The chapters are riddled with grammar, punctuation and occasionally even spelling errors, which makes me wonder just what sort of editing process it was put through. Some of the chapters are also just based on myths, which makes me wonder what the point was.

The q
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Elisa
Oct 07, 2011 Elisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-of-crime
The book referrs to most of the well-known serial killers and it does not spare the usual gory descriptions. It also has a few "smart" referrences (as I would call them), to Abraham Maslow, William James, Auguste de Villiers de I'sle-Adam and others.

However, there are some referrences that made me dislike the book because they are sending it straight into the mud of pseudoscience/paranormal. First off, the author seems to endorse the idea of demonic posession in the case of a certain killer. Se
...more
Phil Slattery
Excellent history of the most despicable killers and their psychology by two of the crime genre's most respected authors.
Cat
Jul 01, 2015 Cat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
really interesting read - why did they do it...answers a lot of questions.
Rebecca
Aug 05, 2011 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am hoping I've picked the right book as mine does not have a second writer names on it :-/
My copy details forensic investigations and profiling of serial killers in a way to see how they tick and can be recognised. I found this extremely interesting. How many times have seen a case on the news and been left thinking why? This book goes some way to explaining the why, ot to the point that you end up feeling sorry for the killer (oh yes there are books like that out there), but you begine to und
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Alice
Feb 24, 2012 Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was fascinating, yet a little disturbing. I really enjoyed reading about the history of serial killers and about some of the specific past cases such as Jack the Ripper and Ted Bundy. Also about the profile of a serial killer and the possible reasons why people become them. Overall it was a genuinely intersting read with some good ideas and lots of information.
Sammie
Aug 06, 2010 Sammie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating, yet disturbing. You can't really discuss the psychology of serial killers without talking about their crimes, and some of the people featured in the book did some horific things. If you like watching TV shows like Criminal Minds, it is along the same lines but more disturbing, since it is all true.
Ashley
May 19, 2014 Ashley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit plodding. Lots of repetition of information. I'm a sucker for the grisly details but even with those peppered in, I still got bored with the tedious writing style.
Saskia
Nov 08, 2011 Saskia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating insight into the psychology of serial killers. Haunting and horrifying, yet deeply interesting.
Jon Lewis
As interesting as it was disturbing. It highlights the importance of psychological profilling.
D.
The Serial Killers: A Study in the Psychology of Violence by Colin Wilson (2007)
Lavaughn
Colin Wilson is always interesting and detailed in his analysis of crimes and criminals.
Ellie [The Empress]
Interesting and informatory but at moments too repetitive and overwhelming.
Molly
Sep 17, 2009 Molly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a fasincating book on serial killers around the world
Emily
Apr 09, 2008 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was too much of a repeat for me. Good beginner serial killer text.
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Colin Henry Wilson was born and raised in Leicester, England, U.K. He left school at 16, worked in factories and various occupations, and read in his spare time. When Wilson was 24, Gollancz published The Outsider (1956) which examines the role of the social 'outsider' in seminal works of various key literary and cultural figures. These include Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, Her ...more
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