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Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI Mass Market Paperback – Mar 15 1993

4.1 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI
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  • Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit
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  • Dark Dreams: A Legendary FBI Profiler Examines  Homicide and the Criminal Mind
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 289 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; Reissue edition (March 15 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312950446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312950446
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2.3 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 23 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #25,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an interesting book about profiling serial murderers and rapists. It has pretty well the same information as Mindhunter by John Douglas. One doesn't have to read both. To be honest, I prefer Mindhunter for the following reasons: Ressler pays a lot of attention to the development of a criminal personality in the childhood, which is relevant, but gives no clues to either preventing children from becoming murderers or rapists, or salving the crimes that have already been committed. Douglas also mentions the developmental factors, but his focus is on anything and everything that helps to catch the perpetrator. Ressler claims that he did not get any useful information from interviewing the convicted criminals who possessed below average intelligence because they had nothing useful to say. Douglas describes his interviews with the same men -- and lists many factors that he found useful in investigations. Douglas also shows how he made these men to open up, which Ressler does not do. Ressler's book is built around topics -- and almost every chapter mentions the same criminals as their crimes relate to the subject of the chapter. This did not allow me to get a coherent picture of many of these criminals. By contrast, Douglas focuses on the criminal, and brings up all the topics related to the crimes and the interviews of that man. I prefer Douglas's format. Having said all that, both books are informative and, while not masterfully written, are readable enough for an interested reader.
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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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By A Customer on Feb. 11 2002
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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