Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI Mass Market Paperback – Mar 15 1993
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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's World of Books / Krakow RPGs
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.
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.)
Most recent customer reviews
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
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. Read morePublished on Sept. 15 2003 by E. Matthews
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 morePublished on March 24 2003 by D. Mckee
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 morePublished on Nov. 2 2002
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 morePublished on Jan. 22 2002 by JOE-JOE BOOKS
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 morePublished on Aug. 20 2001 by A. Bouardi
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 morePublished on March 11 2001 by J R Oakley