Bad Guys: America's Most Wanted in Their Own Words

Mark Baker, Author Simon & Schuster $23 (288p) ISBN 978-0-684-81002-7
The 45 bad guys and 15 bad gals interviewed by Baker (Cops) are anomalous, he writes, because none of them denies guilt. They are also unusual because they claim they never became involved in violence unless it was forced on them. Most are robbers, drug dealers, pimps, smugglers, gamblers or the authors of white-collar scams. Without exception, all share ""the inability to grow up,"" because for them ""adult responsibility is unthinkable,"" Baker writes. Unfortunately, however, the details of most of their crimes, especially their complex financial machinations and their exploits in smuggling drugs, are exceedingly tedious, even to the dedicated true-crime buff. The only genuinely memorable passages appear in the chapter on life in prison; interviewees describe unrelieved tension, constant watchfulness and inescapable paranoia. After conducting these interviews, Baker suggests we view career criminals as neither societal vermin nor underprivileged victims. (June)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
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