Book number 13 in the 100+ Reading Challenge and the third in the What's in a name challenge (Evil, it said to be creative and I think serial killer is pretty evil.) Click here for both challenges.
World Famous Serial Killers
by Colin and Damon Wilson
Outer back cover: Who were they? Why did they do it? The crimes of serial killers are so terrible as to baffle understanding. In this gripping book, true crime experts Colin and Damon Wilson take a look at the most infamous.
The cases covered include Jeffrey Dahmer, the cannibal necrophile of Milwaukee, Ted Bundy, the charming psychopath who murdered innocent young women, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, sadistic soul-mates and killers of children, Richard Ramirez, the terrifying "Night Stalker," and many more. The authors also take a look at the history of serial killing, from it's evil birth in past centuries to the horror of modern day mass murderers.
This is the first non-fiction book I have read in either challenge (except Postsecret), and I thought it was very interesting, and scary to read about what some people are capable of doing. I hadn't actually heard of many of them, not as far as I can remember anyway. I have of course heard of Jack the Ripper, of which they didn't have much information. Another one I had heard of was the Unabomber, but I didn't really know much about him, I had only heard the name, so it was exciting to learn a bit more.
One of the most fascinating serial killers they wrote about was Carl Panzram. He has actually written an autobiography, which part of me would like to read one day, but the other part of me is scared of having nightmares about it for a year if I read it because it's actually true.
At one point in the book they were talking about how people complain that some movies will make people serial killers and I really like what they wrote about that (page 168): It would seem more likely that the sort of person who will eventually become a serial killer is highly likely to want to watch sadomasochistic movie. But sadist with no access to such material still become serial killers - so blaming the movies for serial crime is as over-simplistic as blaming wars on Hollywood, because the politicians who declare wars sometimes watch war movies.
I really enjoyed the book and I learned a lot. I'm still having difficulty believing that people can actually do things like that though (even after what happened in Norway last week) it's just hard to believe that anybody can be that evil. Luckily it hasn't made me too scared of stepping outside the front door!