Mass Murder in the United States

A History

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About the Book

Is mass murder a historically new phenomenon that emerged in the 1960s? How has it changed over time? And what causes a person to commit multiple murders in a matter of hours or even minutes?
This book explores these questions by examining 909 mass murders that took place in the United States between 1900 and 1999. By far the largest study on the topic to date, it begins with a look at the patterns and prevalence of mass murders by presenting rates from 1900–1999 and by describing the characteristics of mass killers. Placing the phenomenon within the broader social, political, and economic context of the twentieth century, the work examines the factors that have influenced trends in the prevalence of mass murder. It also discusses more than 100 case studies within three distinct periods of mass murder activity (1900–1939, 1940–1965, and 1966–1999) to illustrate more clearly the motives of mass murderers and the circumstances surrounding their crimes. The final chapters take a look at media coverage and the role it has played in the social construction of mass murder.
Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Grant Duwe is supervisor of research and evaluation for the Minnesota Department of Corrections. His research has been published in Crime & Delinquency, Justice Quarterly, Homicide Studies and Western Criminology Review. He holds a Ph.D. in criminology and criminal justice from Florida State University.

Bibliographic Details

Grant Duwe
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 219
Bibliographic Info: tables, figures, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3150-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0473-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

Introduction      3

1. The Patterns and Prevalence of Mass Murder      15

2. The First Mass Murder Wave, 1900–1939      32

3. The Trough Between the Waves, 1940–1965      59

4. The Second Mass Murder Wave, 1966–1999      82

5. The News Media’s Presentation of Mass Murder      131

6. The Social Construction of Mass Murder      150

Conclusion      173

Appendix: Data and Methods      185

Chapter Notes      197

References      199

Index      209

Book Reviews & Awards

“well-rounded approach to the phenomenon of mass murder…an excellent historical analysis…an informative study”—Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture; “one of the most exhaustive histories of mass murder”—NPR; “a fine piece of scholarship…detailed…very helpful”—Workplace Violence Prevention Report.