Wednesday, April 15

Inside the Criminal Mind by Stanton E. Samenow, PH.D.

Originally published in 1984, Dr. Samenow has re-released his book taking a look at the criminal mind and updated with several decades of further information. I have not read the previous versions of this book, but it is obvious that at least a few of the sections have benefited from events in the past decade. Some sections which have been added since the original version is one on the use of computers for criminal activities, new drug influences, the effect of violent films/video games, and a look at whether or not genetics plays a role in criminality.

Most of what people know about criminals they probably learn from the news or crime shows. In his book Inside the Criminal Mind Dr.Samenow, a clinical psychologist, offers his profile of criminals. His chapters range from children/teens, work place crimes, drug abuse, mental illness, prisons, and how to change criminals. Each chapter is thoroughly researched and contains many examples. Dr. Samenow’s writing is concise and he avoids making his book read like a textbook (though the examples are often far more attention grabbing than the analysis).

Each person who reads this book will probably find some chapters more intriguing than others. My personal favorites were the ending chapters which talks about the idea of rehabilitation and changing criminals. While I did not agree 100% with all of the ideas on what may cause/lead to criminal behavior, I was glad to see this section. Near the end I was afraid that the whole book would just be a depressing collection of examples of criminal behaviors and mindsets. These final chapters show that change can be possible, though it is also extremely difficult.

Inside the Criminal Mind certainly isn’t an easy read, as it contains many descriptions of crimes and shows the darkness in humanity. While there is a tiny ray of hope offered at the end, it is probably not as large as some people would like, and may make this a difficult read for many. That said, if you enjoy studying psychology or are in a field where you may regularly interact with criminals, this may be both a beneficial book and a fascinating one.

4/5 Stars

I received this book free from Random House as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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