THINKING ABOUT CRIME by James Q. Wilson

THINKING ABOUT CRIME

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Wilson is a Professor of Government at Harvard, a top organizer and consultant for the federal Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, and a respected columnist. In these eleven essays, most of them previously published but reworked for the book, Wilson seems to reject the idea--promulgated since the Enlightenment--that malefactors are affected by their social climate and not simply Born Bad. ""Wicked people exist. Nothing avails but to set them apart from innocent people. . . ."" Wilson is not proposing are turn to the habit of poking heads of executed criminals on stakes; he is arguing that liberal schemes do not and cannot work. Scotching the notion that material benefits as such can automatically efface crime, Wilson demonstrates once more that crime exists in the midst of prosperity. His non sequitur: perhaps there is no cure for drug addiction and recidivism. It remains unfeasible to simply finance massive increases of police; but, since Wilson comes up with no alternative, and belittles most rehabilitation as an unfortunate delusion on the part of criminologists and politicians, we are led of necessity to some sort of repression as the sole remedy. Extracting a correlation between the so-called crime wave of the 1960's and the baby boom maturation, Wilson implies that the heart of the problem may be a lot of rotten kids. As one of the most literate and publicized spekesmen for the ""fundamental reexamination"" school of criminologists, Wilson will receive immediate attention and no little enthusiasm.

Pub Date: June 2nd, 1975
ISBN: 039472917X
Publisher: Basic Books