Incendiary: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber and the Invention of Criminal Profiling

Incendiary The Psychiatrist the Mad Bomber and the Invention of Criminal Profiling Long before the specter of terrorism haunted the public imagination a serial bomber stalked the streets of s New York The race to catch him would give birth to a new science called criminal profi

  • Title: Incendiary: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber and the Invention of Criminal Profiling
  • Author: Michael Cannell
  • ISBN: 9781250048943
  • Page: 373
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Long before the specter of terrorism haunted the public imagination, a serial bomber stalked the streets of 1950s New York The race to catch him would give birth to a new science called criminal profiling.Grand Central, Penn Station, Radio City Music Hall for almost two decades, no place was safe from the man who signed his anonymous letters FP and left his lethal devicLong before the specter of terrorism haunted the public imagination, a serial bomber stalked the streets of 1950s New York The race to catch him would give birth to a new science called criminal profiling.Grand Central, Penn Station, Radio City Music Hall for almost two decades, no place was safe from the man who signed his anonymous letters FP and left his lethal devices in phone booths, storage lockers, even tucked into the plush seats of movie theaters His victims were left cruelly maimed Tabloids called him the greatest individual menace New York City ever faced In desperation, Police Captain Howard Finney sought the help of a little known psychiatrist, Dr James Brussel, whose expertise was the criminal mind Examining crime scene evidence and the strange wording in the bomber s letters, he compiled a portrait of the suspect down to the cut of his jacket But how to put a name to the description Seymour Berkson a handsome New York socialite, prot g of William Randolph Hearst, and publisher of the tabloid The Journal American joined in pursuit of the Mad Bomber The three men hatched a brilliant scheme to catch him at his own game Together, they would capture a monster and change the face of American law enforcement.

    One thought on “Incendiary: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber and the Invention of Criminal Profiling”

    1. An amazing journey into the search for a bomber, Incendiary has impeccable sources and details that make you part of the hunt. Michael Cannell's skills for building the tension made me feel frustrated along with the bomb squad and officials, scared as the residents must have felt, and confused how someone could be so twisted. Full Disclosure: I was allowed to read a copy of this book for free as a member of NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review. The opinions I have expressed are my own an [...]

    2. How much do you like to know about a book before you start it? The answer may tell you something significant, but not necessarily flattering, about yourself, like some kind of marshmallow test for the type of adults who feel about books like children feel about marshmallows.I consistently fail this marshmallow test for adults. For example, when reading William Gibson, I cannot sit by and wait for the author-created argot of the future to make itself clear by inference after repeated use, because [...]

    3. In Incendiary, author Michael Cannell takes a long, detailed, highly readable look at the Mad Bomber; the police who investigated the case; the psychiatrist who created such an accurate profile of the bomber that he appeared to be psychic; the newspapers that covered the bombings; and the bomber's dedicated defense lawyer. George Metesky was definitely mad, both in his mind and in his feelings for Consolidated Edison, the company he felt ruined his life. For 16 years, he planted bombs in various [...]

    4. I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for feedback and review.This book is great. Definite shades of Lawrence Wright. Cannell really expertly weaves the facts and reporting of the case of the Mad Bomber into an easy to follow narrative. I really appreciated how many perspectives you get: from the newspapers to the police to the profiling psychiatrist. I was attracted to this book because I didn't really know the story of the Mad Bomber, and this was about as comprehensive a look at him [...]

    5. INCENDIARY. (2017). Michael Cannell. ***.The revisit to the story of the “mad bomber” of the 1950s was OK. What ultimately led to my skimming of much of it was the author’s style. How would I best describe it? How about like a compendium of Batman and Robin adventures. The characters talked as if they had balloons over their heads. As an introduction to the art of criminal profiling, it was hokey. Dr. Brussel, the alleged inventor of profiling, would be amused to re-read his words as put d [...]

    6. I found the book interesting AND disappointing. I appreciated and enjoyed the historic aspect . I wondered even more about the role of Con Ed in the development of the Mad Bomber's pathology. However, the "explanation" of the development of profiling by Dr. Brussel was lacking. He apparently did his "profiling" by intuitive methods based on outdated and invalid psychoanalytic dogma and some good guessing. Profiling today is based on statistical probabilities yet can be so much in error when some [...]

    7. Michaell Cannell’s work Incendiary: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber and the Invention of Criminal Profiling offers not only a turn paging thriller, explosive to the nerves and senses, but it gives the reader a comprehensive look into how forensic profiling began as a research tool in understanding the criminal, the act, and the apprehension. While crime writers will find this work both entertaining and fascinating, others who enjoy thrillers, mysteries, television show such as NCIS and Crimin [...]

    8. Advance copy courtesy Minotaur/St. Martin's Press via the Vine programThese days, with a steady flow of news and fiction, it would be easy to take the concept of criminal profiling for granted. Just how much a shame that would be is apparent within the first few chapters of Incendiary. Michael Cannell transports readers to Manhattan in the 1950s, where residents and police are increasingly concerned about a rash of bombs that have caused injuries and damage, but no deaths yet.Police gather and [...]

    9. Very interesting look at the Mad Bomber of New York. This is a part of history that I had no knowledge of, so it was quite intriguing. It's hard to imagine that there was a time when criminal profiling didn't exist, now that it's so commonplace!Content: This book does have some gory crime details (not a lot, but there were some parts that I totally could have done without).

    10. FAV QUOTES:Schizophrenics follow their own logic. We just don’t understand it.How does one apprehend the wits of a madman?He looked unremarkable in every way, as if life had failed to make a distinguishing mark on him.He was content in the company of bombs, despite the harrowing possibilities. If anything, he was too brave.Incendiary power had not been his main goal. He was not trying to kill people, not yet anyway. He was simply trying to make a point.Instead of starting with a known personal [...]

    11. Incendiary is the story of the search for the "Mad Bomber", a terrorist who eluded the New York City police for 16+ years. The bomber chose public spaces like theatres, libraries, and train stations through the City in the 1940s/1950s. This case was one of the very first where law enforcement teamed up with a psychiatrist to form a criminal profile, learning more about the man who terrorized the city and maimed dozens of people. I knew little of this case, and while the book and writing ventured [...]

    12. Incendiary is a unique book that chronicles the Mad Bomber of New York and the various police, psychiatrists, journalists, and judges who ultimately brought his 16 year campaign of domestic bombings to an end. The book explores the story from the first bomb being set to the bomber's eventual demise in extreme detail. This is both the main fascination the book provides, and my chief complaint.Michael Cannell provides a level of depth and detail that goes beyond what most historical crime novels a [...]

    13. For a brief period of time when I was getting my psychology degree in college, I wanted to be a criminal profiler. I'm sure that I was mostly spurred on by the romanticism of the field thanks to THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and shows like CRIMINAL MINDS. Eventually I realized that psychology wasn't really for me as a career, but I'm still super intrigued by the concept of profiling and the psychology of criminals. So of COURSE I was interested in the book INCENDIARY by Michael Cannell, as it talks a [...]

    14. I round 4.5 stars up to 5.As a testament to this book's depth (and my lack of an ability to remember things), I had read an article in the weeks previous to getting this audiobook, that was in hindsight probably a short article to market the book. The main (perhaps only) thing I remembered from that article was the use of a very quirky timing "device" in the bombs used. I spent many of the first hours of this book wondering if it was the same madman. Sure I was pretty clued into the likelihood i [...]

    15. Why has everyone forgotten about the Mad Bomber? He planted dozens and dozens of bombs all about New York City from the 1930s through the 1950s (although as a patriotic American--and a vet himself--he paused for WWII) from Grand Central Station to the New York Public Library to Radio City Music Hall. It's amazing how much of history is lost to the wind until an enterprising author puts pen to paper.This bomber was truly outwitting the NYPD, even though he made calls and sent notes about his bomb [...]

    16. Somewhere between a 3 and a 4 for me. It is an engrossing subject - the police investigation of a serial bomber who terrorized New York for years in the mid-20th century. Eventually in desperation the police seek the help of a psychiatrist, Dr. James Brussel, whose criminal profile of the perpetrator proved to be uncannily accurate. For some reason the narrative kept jumping back and forth in time (Are still we in 1954 or did we somehow end up back in 1953 again?) and on occasion Cannell's prose [...]

    17. The author cites Thomas Harris books and TV shows like Criminal Minds and Law and Order as being based on profiling. That's true and if you like that genre, this is where it started!

    18. The most enjoyable way imaginable to learn about New York—and America—in the fifties. Meanwhile, you learn about history’s first serial bomber and the birth of the modern detective.This page-turning work of nonfiction would make a superb Hollywood movie if only it had more gore. Total beach-read stuff.Disclaimer: Michael Cannell is a friend. But I rarely rave about friends’ books as much as I’m raving to friends about this one.

    19. In Incendiary, author Michael Cannell manages to encapsulate a time period when police work was beginning to merge with science and was galvanized into further considering the psychological component of repeat offenders through the terror caused by one man. The Mad Bomber of New York, as the newspapers dubbed him, had set off over thirty bombs and his chilling choice of highly public venues like movie theaters and train stations added another level of terror. Signing any communications he made w [...]

    20. Felt immediately swept up and transported to another time and place. Engaging, suspenseful, well paced. Bravo.

    21. 'Incendiary' looks at the beginning of criminal profiling and the individuals who helped develop the field. Cannell writes engagingly and with verve; his style is journalistic and almost reads like a novel with the colourful character sketches. Definitely worth reading, particularly for anyone interested in psychology or mid 20th century New York.

    22. Michael Cannell’s “Incendiary” is a magnificent example of inexhaustible research spawning a great nonfiction book. His story of a psychotic bomber, an eccentric psychiatrist, and the genesis of modern profiling will linger in the reader’s mind long after the reading ends. The cites for his information are extensive.The Mad Bomber had successfully terrified NYC residents and baffled the city’s police force for almost twenty years. Pipe bombs had been secreted in venues such as Grand Ce [...]

    23. This book is the history of criminal profiling in America and how it became an art form. Who knew that the art of criminal profiling came from 3 men working together to try to identify a serial bomber in NYC, in the 1950's? In the 1950's, in NYC, a mad man was setting off bombs in public places such as movie theatres, train stations and libraries. At that time there was no such thing as criminal profiling and the NYPD didn't have the skills necessary to identify the bomber, or more importantly, [...]

    24. An entertaining and informative read about the first criminal investigation to involve psychological profiling. New York City detectives reach out to psychiatrist Dr. James Brussel to help track down the Mad Bomber in the 1950's. The book reads much like the newspaper The Journal American that plays a crucial role in unmasking the bomber. From the time of terrorized NYC through the capture of the bomber, the book ends with a very satisfying denouement that describes the later career of Dr. Bruss [...]

    25. This book was okay. Very little of it seemed to focus on criminal profiling, which was disappointing to me. I think this is something I would have rather read an article than a full-length book, because while the writing was good, I just wasn't interested enough in the Mad Bomber case to read this many pages on it. A fine enough book, just not to my tastes.

    26. This book discusses the little talked about bomber of NY City.  I knew nothing of this story coming into the book.  Sometimes that is better because then I view everything with amazement.  FP as the bomber signed all his letters to the paper wanted attention.  He wanted to be noticed.  FP made simple bombs, using simple parts he could acquire from any number of locations.  When the Detectives found a piece of the timing mechanism, they went to every watch shop around.  Everyone carried th [...]

    27. New York City in the 1950's was rocked by a series of bombs planted by an anonymous criminal called the "Mad Bomber" and who signed his warning letters with the mysterious "F P". It was never known where the bomber would strike next: phone booths in Grand Central Station, seating at Radio City Music Hall, men's restrooms at other movie theaters and at the Public Library. Although most of the bombs did no harm anyone, a few caused significant injuries to innocent bystanders; the fear it caused, h [...]

    28. True crime stories form a sub-genre of their own. While not the first, Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" proved a water shed when he used the novelistic approach to describe murders from 1969. More recently, Stephen Hunter offered us "American Gunfight" about the assassination attempt on President Truman in 1950. Apparently, even the idyllic 50s had a few rough spots.In "Incendiary", Michael Cannel gives us a gripping story of a forgotten bomber who held New York City in the grip of long-term anxi [...]

    29. "16 Years NYC Held Hostage"Overall 5Performance 5Story 5Where does Incendiary rank among all the audiobooks youve listened to so far?I had pre ordered this several weeks before its release. I wasn't disappointed! The story develops quickly after some historic background. I've been enthralled with Criminal Profiling going back to Silence of the Lambs, books by John Douglas and Robert Ressler and even its use after the fact in setting a psychological print. Cases like Columbine, for example.What w [...]

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