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Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI [Mass Market Paperback]

Robert K. Ressler , Tom Shachtman
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 15 1993 St. Martin's True Crime Library
Face-to-face with some of America's most terrifying killers, FBI veteran and ex-Army CID colonel Robert Ressler learned form then how to identify the unknown monsters who walk among us--and put them behind bars. Now the man who coined the phrase "serial killer" and advised Thomas Harris on The Silence of the Lambs shows how is able to track down some of today's most brutal murderers.

Just as it happened in The Silence of the Lambs, Ressler used the evidence at a crime scene to put together a psychological profile of the killers. From the victims they choose, to the way they kill, to the often grotesque souvenirs they take with them--Ressler unlocks the identities of these vicious killers of the police to capture.

And with his discovery that serial killers share certain violent behaviors, Ressler's gone behind prison walls to hear the bizarre first-hand stories countless convicted murderers. Getting inside the mind of a killer to understand how and why he kills, is one of the FBI's most effective ways of helping police bring in killers who are still at large.

Join Ressler as he takes you on the hunt for toady's most dangerous psychopaths. It is a terrifying journey you will not forget.

Frequently Bought Together

Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI + Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit + Dark Dreams: A Legendary FBI Profiler Examines  Homicide and the Criminal Mind
Price For All Three: CDN$ 28.90

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From Amazon

This book is an overview of the career of the FBI man who nearly single-handedly created the system for personality profiling of violent offenders. If there's a big-time multiple murderer from about 1950 until now who hasn't been interviewed by Robert Ressler, he probably refused the honor. Indispensable reading for serial killer mavens, and better written than John Douglas and Mark Olshaker's Mindhunter, this book is packed with fascinating details from dozens of cases: The killer John Joubert, for example, started his life of cruelty as a kid one day when he was riding his bike with a sharpened pencil in his hand. He rode up next to a little girl who was walking, and stabbed her in the back with the pencil. Ouch!

From Publishers Weekly

Former FBI agent Ressler, who coined the term "serial killer" in the 1970s, recounts in straightforward style his interviews with such infamous murderers as Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy. A BOMC selection in cloth. Photos.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Russ Vorpagel was a legend in the Bureau, six four and 260 pounds, a former police homicide detective in Milwaukee who also had a law degree and was an expert in sex crimes and bomb demolition. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I save almost every book, this one I threw away. Sept. 15 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
We all like hearing scary stories about monsters. This book provides a few of them. Because of its pulp horror novel quality it has some redeaming value. The negatives make it not only a bad read, but make me wish that I had not read it. 1) The author spends a lot of time tooting his own horn. This is fine, but you grow weary of it after a few chapters. It wouldn't be so annoying but because of the way he writes comes off as if he is trying too hard to make it sound like NOT bragging. Because of this I grew very aware of it, like when your tounge won't stop worrying at a new tooth-filling. 2) It grows very predictable. We get it! Serial killers are psychos who fit into patterns and act out fantasies. It isn't a surprise anymore once we learned this early in the book. 3) Ressler brags about his profile helping to send 4-5 Chicago teenagers to prison for a a grusome murder/rape. A decade after this book went to press DNA evidence and discovery of the real killers proved that these kids had been railroaded--unequivocally innocent. Ooops! This incredibly gross injustice wouldn't seem so terrible if Ressler didn't come off as such a judgemental, I-told-you-so-ing, J. Edgar Hoover loving cop's cop.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ego often accompanies greatness Aug. 5 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Many people seem to be put-off by Ressler's "horn-tooting" in this book. Big deal! You're getting an insight into his psychology as well as those he hunts. Ego often accompanies greatness.
The read was fascinating. Ressler offers a dispassionate survey into the psychological make-up of serial killers and other disturbed individuals. Perhaps "dispassionate" is off the mark. He clearly has feelings and opinions, but offers them seperate from his analysis. Ressler doesn't like his subjects, nor approve of them, but he does understand them. His insights just make sense, as opposed to the odd ramblings of other authors on the subject.
Especially illuminating was his explanation of "Organized" and "Disorganized" killers. They have very different make-up and motivation. In addition, his side-by-side analysis of a couple dozen serial killers exposed patterns unavailable in a book solely about one killer, the majority of true crime books.
The resistance to the creation of a Behavioral Sciences Unit was unsurprising, given that the increased incidence of serial killers is a recent phenomena, growing since World War II.
I normally avoid True Crime books, but this one caught my eye, and kept my interest.
Wayne Gralian
Wayne's World of Books / Krakow RPGs
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3.0 out of 5 stars Monsters Among Us Feb. 11 2002
By "jfq75"
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read this book after reading Douglas' Mindhunter therefore I had great expectations for this book. WFM is a good book but one problem I had with it is that Ressler seemed too rushed to cover as many cases as possible. This book isn't even 300 pages and for subject matter like this it should have been over 400.
I take it that Ressler and Douglas aren't exactly golf or fishing buddies. I was annoyed that Ressler had to keep pointing out that he was there first. Ressler made comments like "having to break Douglas in" and he (Douglas) accompanied Ressler to an assignment "as backup". Who cares. It seems to me that Ressler was a cornerstone of the FBI's criminal profiling unit but then Douglas came in and took things over. Maybe some envy on Ressler's part, who knows!?!
There is cases in WFM that are not in Mindhunter but I found for the most part that MindHunter stole WFM's thunder. In conclusion, WFM is a good book. I would recommend it to people who can't find a copy of Mindhunter and to people who want a quick read on a fascinating subject. Not bad but could have been much better. I'll try one of Ressler's other books now.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Many people here have gone out of their way to criticise Robert Ressler for the tone he takes in this book. They think he boasts, and perhaps is arrogant. The fact is that people who do great things deserve the right to beat their chest once in a while. Robert Ressler was not just a pioneer in the field of profiling serial killers, he created several departments in the FBI, promoted not only cooperation between the FBI and local police departments but between different countries as well.
Ressler paints a fascinating portrait of the FBI developing during the post J. Edgar Hoover years and deserves all the credit he has gotten for his contributions to crime fighting and the understanding of criminal psychology. Also, his way of describing why he includes each element into a profile is fascinating, and shows why profiling is still an art and not a science (as Ressler himself states numerous times in the book.)
Robert Ressler's work as an administrator in the FBI as well as a "crime fighter" are no doubt highly commendable... however I think the most commendable aspect of all is his ability in the end of the book when faced with the case of Jeffrey Dahmer to admit that even with all the work he has put into his field, sometimes there are cases that defy classification. Ego swallowed, even if only in the last page.
(Note: One star is deducted simply because the writing could have been a little more crisp and some editing could have prevented a few stories from being told 3 or 4 times.)
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good addition to a True Crime Library
This book is very intriguing and has some good insights.
Truely a great writer and experienced criminologist, Ressler again gives us an amazing journey into the criminal mind. Read more
Published on Jan. 1 2004 by Marcelo Figueredo
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
I am a big fan of true crime books, and this one doesn't disappoint. Very interesting look inside the minds of serial killers, and some of the reasons behind their actions. Read more
Published on March 24 2003 by D. Mckee
3.0 out of 5 stars It's Ok...
This book is written in kind of "text book" form. Overall it was pretty interesting, but Ressler spent alot of time patting himself on the back, which seem to drag the... Read more
Published on Nov. 2 2002 by "dbreak4"
5.0 out of 5 stars Very eerie, but fascinating
Very well written book that gives insight into the ways some of the most infamous murderers in America have been caught (and how some were almost not caught). Read more
Published on Jan. 22 2002 by JOE-JOE BOOKS
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating from start to end!
From the man who coined the term "serial killer", this book is a completely eye-opening account of the FBI's evolution in dealing with serial murderers. Read more
Published on Aug. 20 2001 by A. Bouardi
3.0 out of 5 stars You're better off reading John Douglas
As I think someone before said, Ressler is pretty self-important and this sometimes gets in the way ("I did this and I did that"). Read more
Published on March 11 2001 by J R Oakley
4.0 out of 5 stars Getting the point across.
The information in the book was informative and backed up with statistics and examples. Ressler breaks down crime by explaining how it is divided into four phases and then goes on... Read more
Published on Oct. 8 2000 by J. M. Yarbrough
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, engaging read
In Robert Ressler's Whoever Fights Monsters, he explores his work profiling serial killers in greater detail. Read more
Published on Aug. 31 2000 by Tom Reinstein
4.0 out of 5 stars Skim the ego
interesting book, Ressler is a talented man, it is a shame he knows it, i would have found it much more in depth if he wasen't breaking his arm to try and pat himself on the... Read more
Published on Aug. 14 2000 by Claire
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