Bad Men Do What Good Men Dream: A Forensic Psychiatrist Illuminates the Darker Side of Human Behavior

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From our regular book review column.

Dr. Simon has written a splendid book that explores the dark corner of the human soul. Dr. Simon is a respected forensic psychiatrist who draws on his extensive experience evaluating and treating ordinary people, people who have committed heinous crimes, and people who have been victims of crimes. His style is lively and engaging and easily accessible for the educated layperson. Dr. Simon helps us understand how Jeffrey Dahmer could cannibalize other humans and how Rev. Jim Jones could set in motion events that would lead to the mass suicide of hundreds of people. However, Dr. Simon does not pretend to have a complete understanding of what drives the Ted Bundys of the world; he is humble as he tries to explain the incomprehensible human tragedy of a serial killer such as Bundy. There is much empathy conveyed for the darker side of the human condition discussed in his writing, and Dr. Simon does not sit in judgment. He repeatedly makes the point that most men and women may have aggressive, violent, and criminal impulses periodically throughout their lives. Fortunately, he says, few among us act on those impulses.

J Clin Psychiatry 2000;61(8):604-605