Seductions of Crime: Moral and Sensual Attractions in Doing Evil

Jack Katz, Author Basic Books $19.95 (367p) ISBN 978-0-465-07615-4
What makes the commission of crimes seductively appealing to some criminals? How does it feel to rob, vandalize or murder? According to UCLA sociology professor Katz, these questions have been all but banished from serious discussion by modern sociology. Full of psychobabble, this heavily footnoted tract will provoke sharply divided reactions. In Katz's view, teenagers who shoplift get sneaky thrills enacting a drama of personal competence; stickup artists gain a private sense of moral superiority over their victims; cold-blooded murderers are obsessed with questions of primordial evil; while those who kill out of situational rage may be self-righteously defending ``the Good'' as they understand it. Katz want us to see that crime has hidden ties with primitive magic in offenders' misguided attempts at mastery and control. Many readers will see red instead, irked at what often sounds like an attempt to let criminals off the hook. Others will welcome a frightening probe into the criminal mentality. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 376 pages - 978-0-465-07616-1
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