Saturday, June 09, 2007

Five favorite books on the criminal mind

Theodore Dalrymple, author of, most recently, Romancing Opiates: Pharmacological Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy, is a former prison doctor.

He selected a list of "favorite books on the criminal mind" for Opinion Journal.

One title to make the list:

The Adversary by Emmanuel Carrère

People kill for a variety of reasons. Some do so for the sake of their equilibrium. One man (a prisoner I was attending) who had just killed his girlfriend said to me: "I had to kill her, doctor, or I don't know what I would've done." Emmanuel Carrère, in "The Adversary," explains how a lie led a Frenchman to kill his wife, children and parents many years later. Unable to face his mother and father when he failed his exams at medical school, he pretended to have passed them and then found that he had to pretend to be a doctor to sustain the lie. He kept it up for years, marrying and going to live with his wife near the French border with Switzerland and commuting every day to Geneva, where he claimed to have an important job with the World Health Organization. When exposure finally became inevitable, he could think of no other way to save his pride than to kill his family.

Read about Number One on Dalrymple's list.

--Marshal Zeringue