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Female Serial Killers: How and Why Women Become Monsters
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Female Serial Killers: How and Why Women Become Monsters

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,336 ratings  ·  114 reviews
The first book of its kind-photographs included.

Mothers, daughters, sisters and grandmothers-fiendish killers all.

Society is conditioned to think of murderers and predators as men, but in this fascinating book, Peter Vronsky exposes and investigates the phenomenon of women who kill-and the political, economic, social, and sexual implications.

From history's earliest reco
Paperback, 486 pages
Published August 7th 2007 by Berkley Books (first published 2007)
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3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,336 ratings  ·  114 reviews

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Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Female Serial Killers: How and Why Women Become Monsters... BECAUSE OF MEN!!

They do it to help their sons, boyfriends, husbands and because they were sexually assaulted by a male.

See boys... Don't blame us. It's your fault.
Granted there are a few loose cannons out there, but for the majority its due to the male species.

Excellent, info packed book on why women become serial killers.
Mel Lambert
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sociocultural
Feminism. I do not think it means what Vronsky thinks it means.

Overall this book is an interesting set of case studies on an incredibly interesting subject... all brought down by the author's scornful attempts at humor and side diatribes about Feminism. I also feel like he didn't treat his topic with as much respect as it deserves. To me, killing someone is the height of extreme human behaviour, and discussing it in a scholarly fashion almost requires, I don't know, reverence for the people who
Excellent - well researched, well organized, flows smoothly, and the prose is not as dry as that found in some writing about extreme crimes, but scrupulously factual.
The author describes the murders committed by female serial killers from the Roman Empire on to the present, and in each case study he examines questions about how and why the woman being discussed became a predator on other people. In his view, it is usually a combination of abuse or neglect in childhood combined with some kind of
Oct 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
i am creepily obsessed with serial killers.
Manoja K.
I had a review here, but some people took offence to that and took my review too literally (didn't understand that I was trying to make it entertaining and not give a real in dept review) so I'm just going to say this:

He does gives good profiles on the serial killers

He fails to answer how and why women become monsters (at least this is how I felt)

His commentary through out the book is frustrating because he can be really misogynistic and insensitive.

And I felt like he didn't provide an analysi
Katherine Addison
This makes an interesting pair with Ann Jones' Women Who Kill. Vronsky is not a feminist--he's not a misogynist, either, and honestly, after some of the feminists he quotes, I can't blame him for being dubious. There are people who have said some very stupid things about Aileen Wuornos.

Vronsky talks about the fact that women were serial killers long before Jack the Ripper, and he talks about the very different way female serial killers operate. They tend to kill their family members, and they te
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Quite an interesting read. Vronsky does a good deal of myth-busting in this book, refuting for example the old canards about how female serial killers are always poisoners, or only kill people they know, or aren't as vicious as the male ones. He goes way back in history -- all the way back to the infamous Elizabeth Bathory and also chooses to include the Nazi camp guards Irma Grese and Ilse Koch. Most people would not think of Nazis as being "real" serial killers, but Vronsky makes a good case f ...more
Mar 21, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2010
Despite being overtly competent with facts and data Vronsky's writing, personal commentary and dismissive views of larger complex issues made this an uncomfortable read. You discuss radical feminists and subsequently dismiss all forms of feminism, not taking into account the history and complex nature of this vast school of thought. You give us transcripts of the Homolka/Bernardo (the Homolka section was outstandingly the worst of the text) tapes but not some stating that you're above it. Snide ...more
Ksenia Anske
Dec 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great book. Latest research on female serial killers interspersed with commentary (albeit at times needlessly crude) on gender, feminism, patriarchy, male hegemony, psychopathy, societal rules and constructs that shape serial killers, history of female violence going back to Roman Empire, and the trials of modern psychology to categorize women who are capable of ruthless murder comparable to that of men. Includes life stories of prominent serial killers like Aileen Wuornos with lots of dark and ...more
Feb 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
First the good. The book was cataloged very well and was extremely informative on many notorious female serial killers and their crimes.Based on the information alone this book easily could get 4 stars since it does an excellent job of giving its intended audience what they wanted out of the book.

Now for the bad the book from what I understood was supposed to come to conclusion based on psychological theory and such however I saw no real point to the narrative.This book would have been much bett
Jan 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I didn't know anything about female serial killers before reading it. He starts off comparing and contrasting female and male serial killers which is interesting. Female serial killers are much more likely to kill family and intimates while male serial killers are more likely to kill strangers, for example.

In subsequent chapters he gives detailed accounts of numerous serial killers, broken into chapters based on category. One chapter is about the cliched Black Widow
Jun 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
Remember the self-aggrandizing, smug white boy in every undergrad history class? Apparently someone paid him to write this piece of anti-feminist propaganda masquerading as the seminal work on female serial killers. Vonsky's endlessly snide tone and infantalization of killers and victims alike made it impossible to slog through more than a couple of chapters. Oh, and as a writing tutor, I've seen some bad writing. This has got to be one of the worst written pieces I've ever had the misfortune to ...more
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
For the most part, I found this book interesting. The case studies are the entire reason I bought this and they were detailed and provided a lot of information that I didn't know about. I do feel that I could of skipped about the first 70 pages without missing much though. I also see where some are annoyed by his ranting about feminists and I do partially agree. I understand the point he was trying to make about some of their ridiculous excuses for female killers, but he does seem to cross the l ...more
Alex Lawless
I was initially really excited about this book due to its focus on statistics and the backstories of famous female serial killers. It ended up coming up really flat for me, and at times, offensive. The author has an incredibly dismissive and flippant tone, frequently describes both perpetrators and victims in colorful and derogatory ways, and gets facts wrong or so thoroughly confuses them that they might as well be wrong. He so thoroughly confuses his quotes on statistics that I distrusted them ...more
Rachel Bayles
May 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
With an uneven start, this book won me over.

Its main problem may be its strength. The opening chapter feels like the author’s free association, taken completely out of context. Then he provides a fairly decent synopsis; going into enough detail on the case studies to hold the reader’s attention. But when he gets to the chapter on the Manson Murders, he switches back to the person we glimpsed in chapter one. It’s almost like two authors wrote the book – a sociology professor, and that humorous f
Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book took me quite awhile to read, how and why women kill is not a light read I'm willing to pick up nightly until I'm done. But I was kind of facintated by it.
The book starts with facts and the different kinds of women killers from black widows to Phychotic killers, and the earliest we know of was Nero's mother in the Roman empire. She killed for power. Then Elizabeth Bathory, the Female Dracula and the facts of those serial killers up until 2006.
There were a lot of graphic details and par
May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm going to go ahead and say this: The author of this book is surprisingly anti-feminist movement and is one of those people who (in my opinion, obnoxiously) has a habit of pointing out his arbitrary judgment of every woman's physical appearance that he talks about.

Aside from that, and the sometimes over-the-top jabs at feminists, I really, really enjoyed this book. It's a wonderful reference and extremely interesting.

Of course the book can't really tell us WHY women, or anybody, becomes a "mo
Jun 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
I think this book provides the reader with more information on female serial killers in general than almost any other book. I think this is a good book to get people thinking on why females are not often seen as perpetrators but as the victim. I agree that gender really has nothing to do with a person's ability and desire to kill. I do think that acculturation as well as the individual physical ability and ways of thinking has more to do with how a murder is committed and why
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
I wanted this book to be better than it was. I think if it had been written by a woman, it would have been handled better. Vronsky's voice was distracting and problematic at times. That said, it was a pretty extensive look at female serial killers. I learned about several I had never heard of before.
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
3.5 Stars
This was an in-depth analysis of the history of female killers told primarily through case studies. I found some sections, particularly fascinating, but I felt the book was overly long and exhaustive. Admittedly, I'm not a huge non-fiction reader, but I likely would not have finished this book if I had not listened to this as an audiobook.
Rusty Thelin
Jun 22, 2009 rated it liked it
solid and entertaining retelling of the various cases of female killers, filled with fun facts and shockingly gruesome moments in our human cultural history. If you are researching straight-forward accountings of horrifying murders, as I was, its hard to go wrong with a text like this.
Jul 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
I thought it was very well researched and it kept my interest throughout. I didn't think that the last chapter on the Nazi Ladies and the Manson Girls fit as well, it was if it had been added on as an afterthought. Good overall though, good reading for anyone interested in True Crime.
Oct 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Wonderful!! It's very rare that you find such an in-depth exploration of female serial killers (especially one that goes beyond just "Black Widows"). Definitely a must-read if you're interested in the subject!
Feb 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: great-true-crime
This was an excellent book
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is my absolute favorite non-fiction book. The author provides many examples of female serial killers. The book is sectioned off really well. The book is a really fun read.
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great detailed book on female killers.
May 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Amazingly written. Really took me into the lives of these sadistic women throughout time.
Ruslan Farben
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is a feminist history of predatory female perpetrated serial murder. The author argues that women are as empowered as men when it comes to committing predatory violence and are equal to their homicidal male counterparts, (if not even superior, as he presents statistical evidence that female serial killers have twice as long a killing career before being apprehended than clumsier, knuckle-dragging male serial killers.)

Vronsky concludes that women serial killers kill for the same reason
Craig Buck
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Sixteen percent of all serial killers are female, yet most people still believe they are extremely rare. Because of the all common misperception that female serial killers are all abuse victims acting out PTSD, some horrendously viscous, torturing psychopaths spend only a few years behind bars before being released back among us. This book tells their stories well and seems exhaustively researched, despite occasional editorial digressions on the author's part. For those of us engaged in writing ...more
Informative. Fascinating .

I do take issue with the author constantly describing and criticizing women's looks and bodies. One was described as "having a dumpling like body". Is she shapeless? Lumpy? GOOD IN A CHICKEN SOUP?

My friend commented, "How many people would a woman have to murder to stop getting comments on her looks?"
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PETER VRONSKY is an author, filmmaker, artist and historian. He is the author of a series of books on the history serial homicide: Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters and Female Serial Killers: How and Why Women Become Monsters. The third book in this series, Sons of Cain: A History of Serial Killers From the Stone Age to the Present is scheduled to be released in August 2018 by Pen ...more