Going out with a BANG!


Title: The Mad Bomber of New York

Author: Michael M. Greenburg 

Genre: True Crime

No. of pages: 336

Rating: 3/5


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Criminal psychology has always been a very interesting subject for me. Criminal Minds (an amazing tv show for those of you who haven't heard of it) first introduced me to the subject of profiling which is when you can predict certain characteristics of a person based on the crime committed. It reminds me of Sherlock Holmes and the deductions he makes through his observations. Honestly, when they explain how they got to that conclusion, it always seems so simple, but I would have never been able to guess.

Profiling is now used by lots of detectives to narrow down the suspect pool and to try and give them a lead. But it had to start somewhere, and this case was the one that started it all.

Terror struck New York in the 1950's when bombs were being set off in populated areas; Grand Central Station, New York Central Library and the Brooklyn Theatre to name a few. The man behind it all....George Metesky aka The Mad Bomber, an average working class guy who felt wronged by society. Metesky was suffering from paranoia and delusional episodes and at his trial was declared legally insane.  This man had singularly caused mass hysteria in New York and had evaded capture for almost two decades.  The New York Police were working tirelessly but without the help of Dr James A Brussell, they would have continued to chase their own tails.

Dr Brussell, a psychiatrist and criminologist provided the NYPD with a profile of the offender which, combined with the efforts of the police department and folks at Journal American helped apprehend the bomber. 

This is a very interesting book about George Metesky and his anger against the employer that wronged him. You feel sorry for George when you learn about his accident and you can see why it drove him to cause such terror. Observing the case from an outsiders point of view, it's difficult to understand why it took so long to apprehend him even though as a reader we thought it was quite of obvious. 

It was in also interesting to understand how the law functions in regards to people with mental illnesses. The Mad Bomber never went to prison and never stood trial because he was declared mentally incompetent and actually spent 16 1/2 years in a prison for the criminally insane where he wasn't given any treatment to help his condition.

In terms of the writing, it was written very well however there were times when the book dragged because of unnecessary details. For example, giving a history of the Brooklyn Theatre where the bombing took place was irrelevant to the story. That is why I would give the book 3 stars, more for the story then for the writing which I wasn't a fan of.  I picked up the book to learn about George Metesky and his life and although sometimes this may be seen as giving background I believe it was too much and that caused me to get into a bit of reading slump and it took me so long to finish this book even though the story was so interesting

Overall, I really did enjoy learning about the Mad Bomber and I would definitely recommend reading the story to understand more about crime and criminal profiling.

Image Source: http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2011/05/13/madbomber_custom-e7028e52953f7bccf2085410f5b4b366ec998118-s900-c85.jpg



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