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America's Death Penalty

Between Past and Present

David Garland, Randall McGowen, Michael Meranze

“If I were asked to recommend a single book that puts the vexed and emotionally charged question of the death penalty into an intelligible historical and contemporary political perspective it would be this one. The introduction sets the stage beautifully and the essays that follow allow readers to come at the problem from a variety of mutually reinforcing perspectives. It is a model for intellectually rigorous scholarship on a morally exigent matter.”

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America’s Safest City

Delinquency and Modernity in Suburbia

Simon I. Singer

Since the mid-1990s, the fast-growing suburb of Amherst, NY has been voted by numerous publications as one of the safest places to live in America. Yet, like many of America’s seemingly idyllic suburbs, Amherst is by no means without crime—especially when it comes to adolescents. In America’s Safest City, noted juvenile justice scholar Simon I. Singer uses the types of delinquency seen in Amherst as a case study illuminating the roots of juvenile offending and deviance in modern society. If we are to understand delinquency, Singer argues, we must understand it not just in impoverished areas, but in affluent ones as well.

Drawing on ethnographic work, interviews with troubled youth, parents and service providers, and extensive surveys of teenage residents in Amherst, the book illustrates how a suburban environment is able to provide its youth with opportunities to avoid frequent delinquencies. Singer compares the most delinquent teens he surveys with the least delinquent, analyzing the circumstances that did or did not lead them to deviance and the ways in which they confront their personal difficulties, societal discontents, and serious troubles. Adolescents, parents, teachers, coaches and officials, he concludes, are able in this suburban setting to recognize teens’ need for ongoing sources of trust, empathy, and identity in a multitude of social settings, allowing them to become what Singer terms ‘relationally modern’ individuals better equipped to deal with the trials and tribulations of modern life. A unique and comprehensive study, America’s Safest City is a major new addition to scholarship on juveniles and crime in America.

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The Anatomy Murders

Being the True and Spectacular History of Edinburgh's Notorious Burke and Hare and of the Man of Science Who Abetted Them in the Commission of Their Most Heinous Crimes

By Lisa Rosner

Up the close and down the stair,
Up and down with Burke and Hare.
Burke's the butcher, Hare's the thief,
Knox the man who buys the beef.

—anonymous children's song

On Halloween night 1828, in the West Port district of Edinburgh, Scotland, a woman sometimes known as Madgy Docherty was last seen in the company of William Burke and William Hare. Days later, police discovered her remains in the surgery of the prominent anatomist Dr. Robert Knox. Docherty was the final victim of the most atrocious murder spree of the century, outflanking even Jack the Ripper's. Together with their accomplices, Burke and Hare would be accused of killing sixteen people over the course of twelve months in order to sell the corpses as "subjects" for dissection. The ensuing criminal investigation into the "Anatomy Murders" raised troubling questions about the common practices by which medical men obtained cadavers, the lives of the poor in Edinburgh's back alleys, and the ability of the police to protect the public from cold-blooded murder.

Famous among true crime aficionados, Burke and Hare were the first serial killers to capture media attention, yet The Anatomy Murders is the first book to situate their story against the social and cultural forces that were bringing early nineteenth-century Britain into modernity. In Lisa Rosner's deft treatment, each of the murder victims, from the beautiful, doomed Mary Paterson to the unfortunate "Daft Jamie," opens a window on a different aspect of this world in transition. Tapping into a wealth of unpublished materials, Rosner meticulously portrays the aspirations of doctors and anatomists, the makeshift existence of the so-called dangerous classes, the rudimentary police apparatus, and the half-fiction, half-journalism of the popular press.

The Anatomy Murders resurrects a tale of murder and medicine in a city whose grand Georgian squares and crescents stood beside a maze of slums, a place in which a dead body was far more valuable than a living laborer. Listen to an interview with Lisa Rosner at the Penn Press podcast web page.

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Anatomy of a Kidnapping

A Doctor’s Story

Steven L. Berk, M.D.

Four hours. That was the amount of time between looking down the barrel of a gun and finding myself free along a silent highway lined by cotton fields. In the time period that seemed eternal, my unique experiences as a doctor created an indescribable bond between myself and my captor. I looked upon the situation just as I looked upon a medical emergency: I took a deep breath, hid my panic, and tried to solve the situation.
In March 2005, Dr. Steven Berk was kidnapped in Amarillo, Texas, by a dangerous and enigmatic criminal who entered his home, armed with a shotgun, through an open garage door. Dr. Berk’s experiences and training as a physician, especially his understanding of Sir William Osler’s treatise on aequanimitas, enabled him to keep his family safe, establish rapport with his kidnapper, and bring his captor to justice.
This harrowing story is not just about a kidnapping. It is a story about patients, about physicians, and about what each experience has taught Berk about life and death, mistakes, family, the practice of medicine, and the physician-patient relationship. It is a story about how Berk's profession prepared him for an unpredictable situation and how any doctor must address life’s uncertainties.

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The Bloody Rise and Fall of the Mob's Most Feared Assassin

Casey Sherman

"Joseph Barboza is the most dangerous individual known."--FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, 1965

Joe Barboza knew that there were two requirements for getting inducted into the Mafia. You had to be Sicilian. And you had to commit a contract killing. The New Bedford-born mobster was a proud Portuguese, not Sicilian, but his dream to be part of La Cosa Nostra proved so strong that he thought he could create a loophole. If he killed enough men, if he did enough of the Mafia's dirtiest biddings, then they would have no choice but to make him a Made Man.

Barboza's brutal rise during one of the deadliest mob wars in U.S. history became the stuff of legend, both on the bloodied streets of Boston and in the offices of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney General. He took sick joy in his crimes, and it became increasingly difficult for the mob to keep the Animal on his leash. But soon the hunter became the hunted. Betrayed by the mob and now on the run, Boston's most notorious contract killer forged a Faustian bargain with two unscrupulous FBI agents--a pact that would transform the U.S. criminal justice system. From false testimony and manipulated evidence that sent mob leaders to death row, to the creation of the Witness Protection Program so the feds could protect their prized, cold-blooded witness, this was the horrific, dramatic first act in a story of murder and FBI corruption still being played out today in the news and the courtroom with the capture and trial of Whitey Bulger. Barboza's legacy, buried for years thanks to the murders or deaths of its participants, is finally coming to light and being told in its unvarnished brutality by one of America's most respected true crime writers.

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Arkansas Godfather

The Story of Owney Madden and How He Hijacked Middle America

Owney Madden lived a seemingly quiet life for decades in the resort town of Hot Springs, Arkansas, while he was actually helping some of America's most notorious gangsters rule a vast criminal empire. In 1987, Graham Nown first told Madden's story in his book The English Godfather, in which he traced Madden's boyhood in England, his immigration to New York City, and his rise to mob boss. Nown also uncovered a love story involving Madden and the daughter of the Hot Springs postmaster. Before his arrival in Hot Springs, Madden was one of the most powerful gangsters in New York City and former owner of the famous Cotton Club in Harlem. The story of his life shows us a world where people can break the law without ever getting caught, and where criminality is so entwined in government and society that one might wonder what is legality and what isn't.

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Armed Robbers In Action

Stickups and Street Culture

Richard T. Wright

One of the most feared crimes among urban dwellers, armed robbery poses a serious risk of injury or death, and presents daunting challenges for law enforcement. Yet little is known about the complex factors that motivate assailants who use a weapon to take property by force or threat of force.

Armed Robbers in Action is not like previous studies that focus on the often distorted accounts of incarcerated offenders. Richard T. Wright and Scott H. Decker conducted dangerous, life-threatening field research on the streets of St. Louis to obtain more forthright responses from robbers about their motives and methods. They also visited several crime scenes to examine how situational and spatial features of the setting contributed to the offense. Quoting extensively from their conversations with the offenders, the authors consider the circumstances underlying the decision to commit an armed robbery, explore how and why targets are chosen, and detail the various tactics used in a hold-up.

By analyzing the criminals' candid perspectives on their actions and their social environment, the authors provide a fuller understanding of armed robbery. They conclude with an insightful discussion of the implications of their findings for crime prevention policy.

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Au-delà du système pénal

L'intégration sociale et professionnelle des groupes judiciarisés et marginalisés

En examinant l'impact des politiques sociales et l'évolution du marché du travail, les auteurs évaluent les pratiques professionnelles d'intervention ainsi que les enjeux suscités par les notions d'intégration et d'insertion des chômeurs, des assistés sociaux, des jeunes de la rue, des toxicomanes et des ex-détenus.

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Bad Boy from Rosebud

The Murderous Life of Kenneth Allen McDuff

Gary M. Lavergne

In October of 1989, the State of Texas set Kenneth Allen McDuff, the Broomstick Murderer, free on parole. By choosing to murder again, McDuff became the architect of an extraordinarily intolerant atmosphere in Texas. The spasm of prison construction and parole reforms—collectively called the “McDuff Rules”—resulted from an enormous display of anger vented towards a system that allowed McDuff to kill, and kill again. Bad Boy from Rosebud is a chilling account of the life of one of the most heartless and brutal serial killers in American history. Gary M. Lavergne goes beyond horror into an analysis of the unbelievable subculture in which McDuff lived. Equally compelling are the lives of remarkable law enforcement officers determined to bring McDuff to justice, and their seven-year search for his victims. “Texas still feels the pain inflicted by Kenneth Allen McDuff, despite the relentless efforts of law enforcement officials to solve his crimes and bind up its wounds. Bad Boy from Rosebud is an impeccably researched, compellingly detailed account of the crimes and the long search for justice. Gary Lavergne takes us directly to the scenes of the crimes, deep inside the mind of a killer, and in the process learns not only whom McDuff killed and how—but why. This is classic crime reporting.”—Dan Rather, CBS News

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