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Old Today, 04:42 AM   #1
crich70
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Suggestions for good Forensic history books??

I just read the following book via library loan:The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York

Amazon US
Does anyone here at MR have some suggestions for other good books of 'forensic' history?
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Old Today, 05:04 AM   #2
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I purchased this one at Kobo during a recent Open Road Media promotion on true crime titles for $1.99 each (now back to full price, but sometimes they repeat their sale titles and of course it's couponable if you manage to score a really good code in one of the contests):

The Blooding, the story of the discovery of DNA identification in England and its use in solving the Narborough village murders, by Joseph Wambaugh (Wikipedia), who writes it in the style of one of his police procedural novels.

Disclaimer: I have not gotten around to reading it yet, but it's said to be very good and garnered a lot of review praise (blurbed on the ORM product page) when it first came out in 1989.

(ETA: still lingering at $1.76 for Canadians in the Amazon store, may have comparable pricing for US persons)

Last edited by ATDrake; Today at 05:13 AM. Reason: Actually still available cheap. Not as cheaply as if it were still couponable, but still fairly low.
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Old Today, 06:39 AM   #3
crich70
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Thanks. I'll check it out.
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Old Today, 10:47 AM   #4
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Not sure if this is the kind of thing you're looking for, but several years ago I read probably 10 books about Jack the Ripper. The best was Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper - Case Closed by Patricia Cornwell. The author spent a lot of time and effort applying 20th Century forensic science to the case. It was quite fascinating.
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Old Today, 11:06 AM   #5
HarryT
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Originally Posted by ccowie View Post
Not sure if this is the kind of thing you're looking for, but several years ago I read probably 10 books about Jack the Ripper. The best was Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper - Case Closed by Patricia Cornwell. The author spent a lot of time and effort applying 20th Century forensic science to the case. It was quite fascinating.
The book has, however, been widely criticised for being inaccurate and unscientific. I'd treat it with caution.
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Old Today, 12:09 PM   #6
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I purchased this one at Kobo during a recent Open Road Media promotion on true crime titles for $1.99 each (now back to full price, but sometimes they repeat their sale titles and of course it's couponable if you manage to score a really good code in one of the contests):

The Blooding, the story of the discovery of DNA identification in England and its use in solving the Narborough village murders, by Joseph Wambaugh (Wikipedia), who writes it in the style of one of his police procedural novels.
I read that back in the day when it was first released in paperback in 1989. It's a really excellent book about the use of DNA and widespread blood sampling to catch a serial killer. DNA use in forensics was still experimental at the time. Thanks for the reminder; I should put it on my reread list.

I'm a big Wambaugh fan. Wambaugh was an ex-cop (LAPD detective in the 60's and early 70's) who has written some excellent books about policing in primarily southern California. He also wrote several other non-fiction books about well-known crimes, "The Onion Field" about the execution-style killing of two LAPD patrolmen in 1963, and "Echoes in the Darkness", about an unsolved murder and kidnapping in mainline Philadelphia in 1979.
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Old Today, 12:50 PM   #7
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The book has, however, been widely criticised for being inaccurate and unscientific. I'd treat it with caution.
And if the latest reports are true, she was totally wrong on her id of Jack the Ripper.

Still, it was a pretty interesting book to read.
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Old Today, 02:01 PM   #8
crich70
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And if the latest reports are true, she was totally wrong on her id of Jack the Ripper.

Still, it was a pretty interesting book to read.
Old Jackie will never go out of style as an interesting person to read about. Probably because more than 100 yrs after his crimes we still don't know who he was.
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Old Today, 03:33 PM   #9
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It's perhaps worth noting, crich, that the adjective "forensic" simply means "relating to the court". When you say "forensic history", are you after anything relating to the history of the judicial process, or is it the history of forensic science that you're specifically interested in?
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Old Today, 03:42 PM   #10
crich70
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More the forensic science. Though I have seen some true crime videos that did have some detail on how laws have changed over the yrs.
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