The Mammoth Book of True Crime

Colin Wilson, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $9.95 (630p) ISBN 978-0-88184-411-5
The prolific Wilson (A Criminal History of Mankind, et al.) offers this compilation of true crime narratives, abbreviated accounts of both famous and lesser-known cases. ``Murder interests me,'' Wilson writes, ``because it is the most extreme form of the denial of this human potentiality. Life devaluation has become a commonplace of our century.'' Wilson analyzes numerous crimes and their perpetrators, ranging from lady-killers to manic messiahs, contemporary and past: `` . . . to kill by poison is perhaps the most childish of all criminal acts . . . . Nearly all the famous poisoners have been rather childish personalitiesoften delightful and charming, but fundamentally children determined to get their own way by stealth.'' In the ``Motiveless Murder'' chapter, he once again expounds on the importance of science-fiction author A. E. Van Vogt's ``right man'' theoryviolent men who treat women as slavesas ``one of the most important breakthroughs since Sigmund Freud `discovered' the unconscious.'' Wilson's now-familiar practice of intertwining throughout a rich array of literary references (Ray Bradbury, James Thurber, James Jones, etc.) only adds to the informed tone of this massive survey, so extensive and worthy a reference that some repetition is not an annoyance. An introduction defines the links between Wilson's fiction and nonfiction. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1988
Release date: 07/01/1988
Paperback - 608 pages - 978-0-7867-0536-8
Paperback - 978-0-88184-591-4
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