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Sons of Cain

A History of Serial Killers from the Stone Age to the Present
Narrated by: Mikael Naramore
Length: 15 hrs and 1 min
4.5 out of 5 stars (34 ratings)

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Summary

From the author of Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters comes an in-depth examination of sexual serial killers throughout human history, how they evolved, and why we are drawn to their horrifying crimes.

Before the term was coined in 1981, there were no "serial killers." There were only "monsters" - killers society first understood as werewolves, vampires, ghouls and witches or, later, Hitchcockian psychos.

In Sons of Cain - a book that fills the gap between dry academic studies and sensationalized true crime - investigative historian Peter Vronsky examines our understanding of serial killing from its prehistoric anthropological evolutionary dimensions in the pre-civilization era (c. 15,000 BC) to today. Delving further back into human history and deeper into the human psyche than Serial Killers - Vronsky's 2004 book, which has been called "the definitive history of the phenomenon of serial murder" - he focuses strictly on sexual serial killers: thrill killers who engage in murder, rape, torture, cannibalism and necrophilia, as opposed to for-profit serial killers, including hit men, or "political" serial killers, like terrorists or genocidal murderers.

These sexual serial killers differ from all other serial killers in their motives and their foundations. They are uniquely human and - as popular culture has demonstrated - uniquely fascinating.

©2018 Peter Vronsky (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting but flawed

It's a difficult thing to adequaltely review Sons of Cain. On one hand it is well researched, with interesting historical accounts and decently formed arguements...

...but on the other hand the author has a tendancy to draw large generalisations or make statements that arent supported by current scientific fact.

Central among these is the arguement that there is some form of 'primitive reptilian' part of our brain which could make any of us into serial killers.

The Author cites prehistoric accounts of interspecies violence between humans and neaderthals... Although ACTUAL paleontological evidence of this does not exist.

Also - the biological assumptionism that early humans and 'primtive hominids' are in some way closer to the psyche of a serial killer simply isnt true. Much of the eveidence we have points to Neanderthals as caring individuals with a rich culutral belief system including jewellry, music and cave paintings.

It feels like the author is trying to move away from old ideas of 'good and evil' by contemplating both physiology and culture, which I feel is generally a positive move.

In some parts Sons or Cain can be profund and insightful, but in others it feels like the complexity of historical and culutral issues are not quite fully fleshed out or explored.

The history included in this book is also very Western-centric, with Europe and America filling the majority of the historical accounts.

It feels like, without knowing it, the author is drawing up further questions about the nature of violence, culture, society, class and many other socio-anthropological relationships to Serial murder.

Still - for those interested in Serial Killer history - this isnt a bad book and I would certainly suggest a read!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

We have met the enemy and he is us

A very creepy book, but which must, I believe, be read by everyone. Yes, it creeped me out and I had to sleep with the lights on, for several days, but it is such a brilliant study into the matter, and helps understand a little the evil within us. I say we shouldn't pretend evil doesn't exist, because it does. We should understand it to prevent it, and this wrapped up to a beautiful conclusion.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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<br />A must for a true crime fan!

this book was filled with wonderful dark information, but some stories jump too quick though.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • LINZI
  • 31-12-18

Very interesting insights.

Interesting theories on this topic. Many of which I have never heard before. Compelling explanations and evidence to support them. You may not agree with all of it but it will definitely give you pause for thought. By the end I found myself searching for his next book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Donald Bouchard
  • 12-09-18

Not bad

there's a lot of information going on in this book, but unfortunately for the length of this book not everything can be dived into deeply. it's really unfortunate that the author didn't go too deep with certain serial killers let alone not mention some of the more infamous killers in American history. I was actually surprised that he did not discuss Carl panzram. overall I was pleased with the book

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • mona berrier
  • 13-11-19

Not worth it

Highly presumptive and lacking factual information supporting presumptions. I got a refund. I wish I had known that before I bought the book.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Robert Wright
  • 26-09-19

Interesting but questionable research

The author has some seriously fascinating theories and I was fascinated by the cases laid out. but in the last chapter he referenced a case that was local to me and his info was so basically wrong it made me question the authenticity of everything else he wrote. Hint: there's no such place as "West Mesa, NM". Anyway, it's also extremely graphic. This book seems almost like one of the pulp men's crime magazines he blames so much of the serial killer phenomenon on. I recommend it for critical thinkers who can listen to the authors general theories while not taking it as factual science.

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  • Faysal Itani
  • 28-08-19

brilliant.

packed with detail, analytically rigorous and provocative. as masterful as his last book. great narration too.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • customer 1
  • 22-08-19

Wow

The book was a bit overwhelming. Lots of information to wrap my brain around. Lots to digest.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • RRobinR
  • 15-04-19

detailed and intricate

Wow! if this book doesn't make you understand the depth and breadth of the human element nothing can. crazy doesn't begin to excuse the behavior of some humans, the research and attention to detail is intoxicating.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tiffany B.
  • 15-11-18

Hung on every word!

Brilliantly written & read! Fabulous mix of psychology & details. Very eye opening. Thank you!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • PMaycumber
  • 10-11-18

Serial killers

Very good historical book on serial killers. This discussed complete history of the pathological topic.