From the internationally bestselling authors of Mindhunter, a riveting exploration of the root of all crime.
Every crime is a mystery story with a motive at its heart. Understand the motive and you can solve the mystery. The Anatomy of Motive offers a dramatic, insightful look at the development and evolution of the criminal mind. The famed former chief of the FBI's Investigative Support Unit, Douglas was the pioneer of modern behavioral profiling of serial criminals. Working again with acclaimed novelist, journalist, and filmmaker Mark Olshaker, and using cases from his own fabled career as examples, Douglas not only takes us into the darkest recesses of the minds of arsonists, hijackers, bombers, serial killers, and mass murderers, but also the seemingly ordinary people who suddenly kill their families or go on a rampage in the workplace.
For the first time, Douglas identifies the common building blocks contributing to the violently antisocial personality. Drawing on cases from today's headlines, he looks at recent sniper incidents at schools and other public places to penetrate the minds and motivations of mass killers. As Douglas tracks the progressive escalation of these criminals' sociopathic behavior, he also shows the common elements in many of their pasts that link them together.
Through riveting profiles and a narrative that reads like the best mystery fiction, The Anatomy of Motive analyzes such diverse killers as Lee Harvey Oswald, Theodore Kaczynski, and Timothy McVeigh, and helps us learn how to anticipate potential violent behavior before it's too late.
A volume of case studies by Douglas, the former chief profiler at the FBI's legendary behavioral sciences unit, and Olshaker has become an annual event, from 1995's Mind Hunter to last year's Obsession. Here, the duo exhume the victims of Andrew Cunanan, Charles Whitman, Theodore Kaczynski and many others for insight into the killers' minds. Douglas's formula is deceptively simple: "WHY? + HOW? = WHO." But since serial killers are rarely caught through profiling, the formula is better expressed as "WHO + HOW = WHY." Douglas is tops in the field. He was among the first to suggest that the Atlanta child murderer was African-American, and he delivered a dead-on profile of Scottish mass-murderer Thomas Watt Hamilton on live TV based on preliminary news accounts. Still, most of what's here will be familiar to readers of other profiling books: the lonely white male with an obsessive sense of his own failure who tortured animals, wet his bed and played with matches as a child. Though Douglas promises to explain the differences among bombers, arsonists, shooters, cutters and stranglers, his profiles too often cleave to predictable, reductive formulations. Both Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby are characterized as "paranoid losers"; Timothy McVeigh is "a scrawny, pissed-off young hick." As always, Douglas and Olshaker deliver an entertaining read, but fewer case studies presented with more depth would better inform and educate the amateur profiler.
John Douglas is a wealth of knowledge. I was unable to put this book down!
An extremely insightful psychological study of human behavior. I recommend this book to anyone who is a human being.
I just couldn’t get into this like I have others by John Douglas. It had its interesting moments, but I was glad when it was done.