Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Mad Bomber of New York: The Extraordinary True Story of the Manhunt That Paralyzed a CityThe Mad Bomber of New York: The Extraordinary True Story of the Manhunt That Paralyzed a City by Michael M. Greenburg

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Between 1940 and 1957, 33 bombs--strategically placed in Grand Central, Penn Station, Radio City Music Hall, Macy's and other populous areas of New York--paralyzed the city, sending shockwaves of fear through an unsuspecting public.

George Metesky, the “Mad Bomber,” unleashed a reign of terror that reverberated through America's social, legal, and political landscape, ultimately spurring the birth of modern criminal profiling when a crime psychiatrist was called in to assist in the manhunt. Compelling historical true crime, The Mad Bomber of New York is the gripping tale of two individuals engaged in a deadly game of hide-and-seek, with the city of New York caught in the crosshairs.

My thoughts:

This was an excellent read. I like when an author can take a true story and write it with suspense. While we know very early in the book who the Mad Bomber is, you have to read the book to find out how it all develops. What caused him to do the bombings? How was he able to get away with it for so long? And ultimately, how was Metesky caught?

The hunt for the Mad Bomber brought about one of the first instances of trying to profile a criminal offender – as described in the book – “a process of attributing probable physical, personality and character traits to an offender based upon an analysis of crime scene evidence and behaviors”. It’s interesting toread close the profiler came to many of Metesky’s characteristics.

Once the Mad Bomber , was caught, he was initially remanded to a psych facility without actually standing trial. Laws at the time allowed this, but Metesky eventually fought the validity, and his case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court who sided with him.

I won’t tell you how it ends – you need to read this outstanding book to find that out!

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