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Publisher's Summary

In the horrifying annals of American crime, the infamous names of brutal killers such as Bundy, Dahmer, Gacy, and Berkowitz are writ large in the imaginations of a public both horrified and hypnotized by their monstrous, murderous acts. But for every celebrity psychopath who's gotten ink for spilling blood, there's a bevy of all-but-forgotten homicidal fiends studding the bloody margins of US history. In this book you'll meet:

  • Robert Irwin, "The Mad Sculptor": He longed to use his carving skills on the woman he loved, but had to settle for making short work of her mother and sister instead.
  • Peter Robinson, "The Tell-Tale Heart Killer": It took two days and four tries for him to finish off his victim, but no time at all for keen-eyed cops to spot the fatal flaw in his floor plan.
  • Anton Probst, "The Monster in the Shape of a Man": The ax-murdering immigrant's systematic slaughter of all eight members of a Pennsylvania farm family matched the savagery of the Manson murders a century later.
  • Edward H. Rulloff, "The Man of Two Lives": A genuine Jekyll and Hyde, his brilliant scholarship disguised his bloodthirsty brutality.

©2012 Harold Schechter (P)2016 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

True crime enthusiast's dream

Excellent collection of unusual cases that people have forgotten. Well organized and well written.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Like listening to someone read a card catalog...

What would have made Psycho USA better?

A story--any kind of story--would have made this title better. It's like someone got together a whole bunch of newspaper articles from the pre-internet era, culled the sensationalism--not just sensationalism but really anything that might lead to an emotional response--and began to read.

What was most disappointing about Harold Schechter’s story?

There was no story. No connection between the vignettes, no higher-order commentary or analysis. No historical context. Just endless droning.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator didn't have a lot to work with, but in what must have been an effort to imbue the text with some sort of interest, he adds a sing-song element to his reading that makes it come off rather cartoon-like.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

This title may have some redeeming qualities, but several chapters were enough to get me to stop looking.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

hated

waste of money. not even a story just listed cases. save your money or credit

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Terrifying History of American Madness

Schechter is a wonderful writer of the dark history of American lives. Truly gripping in the true crime genre, yet eerily proved as a history of American life. This brings the listener into the every day life of Americans, realizing a monster has arrived in their community, frequently a known neighbor.
This collection of horrors should not be discounted by historians due to it’s True Crime categorization. This audiobook touches upon the real lives of Americans throughout the years. Haunting and factual,
Schechter has done it again.

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wasnt a fan haven't been able to finish very monot

very monotone wasnt able to stay involved in the reading. it's a great subject but the reading could be better

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Narrator is absolutely horrible

Had some potential but I tried listening to this book for about 2 hours and was constantly having to rewind because of the narrators tempo. His style of reading is distracting and has no flow to it whatsoever. I asked my fiance a dozen times what was happening and she could not even tell me because the narration was so terrible. Don't waste your money.

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interesting

I would recommend this book as a history Lesson to readers of psychological interest. Not for the faint of heart.

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Great historical value in the knowledge.

I loved all the information and the narrator had a pleasing enough voice, but what really annoyed me was his lack of knowledge on pronunciation. There were a few spots where the grammar was incorrect but that could have been in the book, something that got passed the editor, but his pronunciation of certain things was awful. Certain things specifically that he repeated throughout that chapter just graded on my nerves.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful