by Richard Rhodes
Richard Rhodes is one of my favorite authors. I first encountered his work when I read The Making of the Atomic Bomb. His book, Why They Kill, is unique in my experience, in that it is a blend of both biography and sociology. It is the biography of Lonnie Athens who lived a violent life as a youth and later dedicated his life to the investigation of the source of violence in criminals. It is also a presentation of Athens' findings and an examination of the results of applying those findings to criminals who Athens had not studied. The result of this, due greatly to the writing skills of the author, is a fascinating and unique story of the sociology of criminal life and the pathology of violence. This is a challenging book for those readers interested in why some humans kill.
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