WHO KILLED PRECIOUS?

HOW FBI SPECIAL AGENTS COMBINE PSYCHOLOGY AND HIGH TECHNOLOGY TO IDENTIFY VIOLENT CRIMINALS

An in-depth, detailed rundown by veteran TV and print journalist Jeffers of the workings of the Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) at the FBI's National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime in Quantico, Va.—the same unit that's featured in The Silence of the Lambs. Readers of the Harris novel will be interested to learn, however, that the BSU studies, profiles, and investigates not only serial killers like Hannibal Lecter but also serial rapists, serial child molesters, mass murderers, and terrorists/assassins. Each type of criminal gets its own well-researched chapter here, but the focus—other than a long section devoted to the FBI's investigation of the Iowa explosion—is on serial killers, with a careful combing of the cases of many brand-name maniacs: The Boston Strangler, Son of Sam, The Night Stalker. However, Jeffers begins with a little- known case, that of a serial killer ``trolling'' for hookers, including ``Precious,'' in the Washington, D.C., area. Following BSU superagent John E. Douglas as he examines evidence, Jeffers explains that, to Douglas, ``a crime scene was regarded not as evidence of what had been done but as a symptom of the aberration of the person who did it''—allowing agents to induce a psychological profile, usually highly accurate, of perpetrators: When caught, Precious's killer fit the BSU profile hand to glove. A capsule history of violent serial crime and of the BSU follows, with much criminal fact and lore as well as a chilling recap of the BSU's extensive interviewing of ``violent criminal offenders.'' Jeffers concludes with a quick survey of how the media have treated serial killers, and a note on the likely future of the FBI's program. Very thorough on BSU methodology and criminal psychology, but a close look at the psychology of BSU agents themselves would have deepened the narrative. Nonetheless: lively, informative, and timely.

Pub Date: June 21, 1991

ISBN: 0-88687-538-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1991

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE

Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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