Written in Blood: A History of Forensic Detection

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Carroll & Graf, Nov 16, 2003 - Law - 690 pages
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In 44 B.C. a Roman doctor named Antistius performed the first autopsy recorded in history—on the corpse of murder victim Julius Caesar. However, not until the nineteenth century did the systematic application of scientific knowledge to crime detection seriously begin, so that the tiniest scrap of evidence might yield astonishing results—like the single horsehair that betrayed the sex murderer in New York's 1936 Nancy Titterton case. In this massive and compelling history of forensic detection, the internationally recognized criminologist Colin Wilson charts the progress of criminalistics from the first attempts at detecting arsenic to the development of an impressive array of such modern techniques as ballistic analysis, blood typing, voice printing, textile analysis, psychological profiling, and genetic fingerprinting. Wilson also explores the alarmingly modern phenomenon of serial sex crime with a discussion of notorious cases that includes Jack the Ripper, Lucie Berlin, Mary Phagan, the Black Dahlia, Charles Manson, and Peter Sutcliffe, the so-called Yorkshire Ripper. Wilson shows how the continual sophistication of forensic detection and the introduction of computerized information retrieval has increasingly stacked the odds against the sex killer. Whatever the case, Written in Blood never fails to enlighten and intrigue.

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User Review  - dylkit - LibraryThing

I had to add a new category to this - recycle. It does not really seem right to bring it to the charity shop..mostly, because it is very outdated (I seem to have an older edition than the ones ... Read full review

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User Review  - MsMixte - LibraryThing

Nice overlook at how clues are used in both historical and modern detecting. Out of date for truly modern stuff, but still useful from a historical perspective. Read full review

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About the author (2003)

Colin Wilson was born on 26 June 1931, in Leicester, England. He considered himself a genius, a born writer, and an outsider, and left school at the age of sixteen. During the next few years he drifted and traveled around England and Continental Europe. After a six-month period in the Royal Air Force, he held a succession of factory, office, hospital, and dishwashing jobs in both London and Paris, worked on the Paris Review, and began to write plays, short stories, essays, and poetry. He met Alfred Reynolds, and became involved in the The Bridge, a quasi-anarchist organization partly composed of ex-Nazi prisoners of war. Wilson was eventually banned from Bridge meetings because his Outsider beliefs were at odds with Reynolds' Anarchist beliefs. Wilson entered into the literary scene with the publication of The Outsider in 1956 when he was 24 years old. The book was grouped with the English version of the Beats. An enormously prolific writer, having written to date over 80 major works on a wide variety of subjects: philosophy, religion, occult and supernatural phenomenea, music, sex, crime and critical theory. His biographies include works on Bernard Shaw, David Lindsay, Herman Hesse, Wilhelm Reich, Jorge Luis Borges, Ken Russell, Rudolph Steiner, Aleister Crowley, and P. D. Ouspensky. Wilson made major philosophical statements in the Outsider Series including, The Outsider, Religion & the Rebel, The Stature of Man, The Strength to Dream, Origins of the Sexual Impulse, Beyond the Outsider and Essay On the New Existentialism. Wilson spent several years in the 1960s as a writer in residence at Hollins College, Virginia.

DAMON WILSON, the author of numerous books on the unexplained, including Aliens and Spontaneous Combustion, also edited The Mammoth Book of Nostradamus and Other Prophets. He lives in England.

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