#allthebookreviews – The Anatomy of Evil by Michael H. Stone

Happy belated release to this true crime thriller!

Thanks to Seventh Street Books for the advanced copies in exchange for our honest reviews.

THE ANATOMY OF EVIL by Michael H. Stone (released November 7th, 2017)

Here’s what the true crime loving #allthebookreviews duo thought

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Chandra’s Thoughts: 5/5 stars

I have always been fascinated with how the human mind works – especially in the cases of abnormal psychology and what actually causes a person to be “evil” or how they can justify the actions they’ve taken – rape, murder, manipulation, etc.  Nature vs. Nurture has been a debate that’s been going on for ages.  Can a human being be born evil?  There are cases of kids growing up in perfectly normal houses, with a normal social atmosphere that kill.  Are they crazy?  Were they born that way? Or what, if anything, triggered them?

Michael Stone doesn’t believe in the inherent “bad seed”… that people are born evil.  While there are cases that can be seen that way, if you look further, there seems to be a base of where their behavior came from and the author’s theories are hard to argue with.

I have done hours upon hours of studying serial killers/true crime.  I make no apologies for my morbid curiosity.  Stone not only references the big names that we know such as Manson, but also recounts up to 600 different cases – not just regurgitating them for our morbid brain food, but also providing theories about them as well. FASCINATING.  Simply. Fascinating.

I may not read much nonfiction, but when I do… it’s almost always in this type of genre.  What do you believe?  Can people just be evil?  What’s your definition of this word?  As society changes, what becomes more “acceptable” and how can we justify people’s actions.  If any of this intrigues you, I highly recommend picking up this book and seeing how the author brings cases, logic and his 22-level hierarchy of evil behavior into the mix.  I surely will be side-eyeing and being even more skeptical of the human race.   So thank you, Mr. Stone… all jokes aside, you’ve certainly re-opened my interest into the psychology/psychiatry/neuroscience of human behavior.

My Thoughts: 5/5 stars

What makes a person evil? How does that differ from our perception of evil in today’s society? Michael Stone outlines his research of some of the most high-profile killers within the pages of THE ANATOMY OF EVIL. I know that I’ve frequently wondered what went wrong or what happened to these high-profile serial killers (watching a lot of documentaries and reading about the killers will do that). Is there one specific thing that makes someone evil?

Michael Stone is a renowned psychologist, and former host of the Most Evil series on Discovery Channel, and has analyzed over 600 biographies on violent criminals. He has definitely done his fair share of research and has developed a hierarchy of 22 levels. There are specific personality traits that lead to crimes of passion, sadistic torture, and murder. The two common traits are narcissism and aggression. Some contributing factors – on their own or a number of them combined – can push people over the edge and lead to them committing these awful and unspeakable crimes. Heredity, adverse environments, mental illness, brain injury, drug abuse, and many others are considered to be the root causes of evil behavior.

This book is one that really immerses the reader. If you’re a fan of true crime or serial killers fascinate you, then you definitely need to pick this one up. Even if it’s just skimming through to see the profiles on some of the killers he researched (these will not be the high-profile ones like Manson, Bundy, or Dahmer) The hierarchy was very interesting to read and see how all of his research came to these conclusions. This doesn’t read like a textbook would – so it’s not just a regurgitation of facts.

Overall, if you like nonfiction and true crime, then this is one I’d highly recommend. If you liked Most Evil, then this will be right up your alley. I found it truly fascinating and eye-opening to see what can contribute to evil and how the public perceives evil.

What do you think about true crime and serial killers? Are they something that fascinate you?

–Jess

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