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The Mad Bomber of New York: The…
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The Mad Bomber of New York: The Extraordinary True Story of the Manhunt… (edição: 2011)

de Michael M. Greenburg

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Documents the story of the manhunt for the "Mad Bomber," who between 1940 and 1957 placed thirty-three bombs in high-traffic New York City locations including Grand Central Station, Radio City Music Hall, and Macy's, in an account that also marks the beginning of modern criminal profiling.
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Título:The Mad Bomber of New York: The Extraordinary True Story of the Manhunt That Paralyzed a City
Autores:Michael M. Greenburg
Informação:Union Square Press (2011), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 336 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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The Mad Bomber of New York: The Extraordinary True Story of the Manhunt That Paralyzed a City de Michael M. Greenburg

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From 1940 to 1956 – with time off for World War II – George Metesky waged a one-man war against the Consolidated Edison Company of New York, New York. He’d started with letters, but by the 40′s, he’d escalated to pipe bombs, wrapped in a man’s red woolen sock and stashed at various locations around the city. He eventually confessed to planting more than sixty of the things, although only about thirty-some ever went off. (There is one in the Empire State Building, Greenburg reminds us, that has never been found.)

Greenburg renders the story of the Mad Bomber, as he was known, from a variety of perspectives – from the newspapers who followed his exploits to the police who tracked him to the psychologist who profiled him to, sometimes, Metesky himself. He also does a fine job of including quite a bit of historical context, helpful for those of us who do not have a ready-made mental picture of New York in the 1940s and 50s. (Mine always includes Cary Grant.)

It took me a little while to get into this book, partly because the first few chapters are more than a little confused. They jump backwards and forwards in time – clearly an attempt to start in media res, but since so many of the bomb incidents are so similar, it’s hard to get a grip on exactly when this is happening. Around chapter two or three, though, things settle down and start moving forward at a reasonable pace: Metesky’s personal life, his injury on the job at the Con Ed plant, his escalation from letter-writing to bomb-making, the collaboration of policework and journalism that finally identified the bomber, and Metesky’s long incarceration in the mental hospitals of New York.

The Mad Bomber was a landmark case in a lot of ways, from the way newspaper articles drew out the bomber by inviting him to communicate with them to the impact it had on sentencing and dealing with mentally ill criminals, and Greenburg touches at least a little bit on each of them. He devotes a whole chapter to the profile of Metesky created by Dr. James Brussel and how this widely-publicized tool impacted the later development of criminal profiling as we know it today, which I found fascinating, Criminal Minds fangirl that I am. The passages comparing profiling to Pliny’s descriptions of the physical characteristics of the criminal type seem to indicate a certain disdain for profiling on Greenburg’s part, which I can’t entirely disagree with. In just a few short sections he provides a perspective on the field I haven’t seen before, and for that alone the book was worth it.

Although a little thin at times, and drawing more conclusions about various actors’ internal thoughts than I generally like in my nonfiction, I found this a good overview of an interesting and complex case. Greenburg does an excellent job of situating the Mad Bomber case in its historical and cultural context, and draws attention to all of the wide-ranging influences it had. I enjoyed this quite a bit, and I would recommend it as a good summer read, if you’re inclined to find this sort of thing as fun as I do. ( )
  jen.e.moore | Mar 30, 2013 |
This is an excellent piece of "creative nonfiction." George Metesky's reign of terror was world-famous at the time, but nearly forgotten today, and this is the only full-length book I've found on his case. The author covers Metesky's life, the development of mental illness, his dispute with Con. Ed. and his resulting crimes, as well as the police effort, criminal profiling and journalist/police cooperation that lead to his capture.

In spite of his dangerousness and lack of remorse I had to feel sorry for Metesky -- he was so pathetic. And I felt even sorrier knowing that, had he committed the bomb spree today, he would not have been judged insane but would have been thrown into a prison cell for life, which was not the best place for him.

Anyone interested in historical true crime, or New York City history, would enjoy this book. It might be a good vocab builder too, with lines like: "The early dusk of winter had cast its tenebrous veil upon the office, though the men had seemingly failed to notice." ( )
1 vote meggyweg | Nov 2, 2011 |
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Documents the story of the manhunt for the "Mad Bomber," who between 1940 and 1957 placed thirty-three bombs in high-traffic New York City locations including Grand Central Station, Radio City Music Hall, and Macy's, in an account that also marks the beginning of modern criminal profiling.

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