Date finished: 2014-06-25
Bill James is famous as a baseball statistician, but this book is something entirely different, a personal survey of true crime books and of famous American cases, jumbling together short accounts of crimes such as the Lizzie Borden case and the Lindbergh kidnapping with meditations on why we enjoy true crime, whether it's harmful or not, and what all this implies for how we should treat criminals and run prisons. It's an idiosyncratic book, but I found it very engaging and loved reading it.
His view on the Kennedy assassination is interesting and derives from a book called Mortal Error. The hypothesis is that Kennedy was struck by two bullets from Oswald but actually killed by a misfire from one of his own Secret Service agents. That would explain odd behaviour on the part of the government -- imagine the fallout for the Secret Service! -- while not requiring an elaborate chain of conspiracies.
Tagged: true crime
%T Popular Crime %S Reflections on the Celebration of Violence %A James, Bill %K true crime %G ISBN 978-1-4165-5273-4 %I Scribner %P 461pp %D 2011 %@ 2014-06-25 %* *