Kindle Family Page Your Cloud Drive Audible Audible Audible New Releases New Blaupunkt Receivers Dental Hygiene Month Cloud Player Color Theory View Looks Shop All Clothing Watch Magic City Now XCOM: Enemy Uknown Best Books of the Month Best Books of the Month Best Books of the Month Kids' Costumes Snow Sports Store

A Criminal History of Mankind
Sell Us Your Item
For a $0.75 Gift Card
Trade in

A Criminal History of Mankind [Paperback]

Colin Wilson (Author)
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews) Like (0)

Available from these sellers.

1 new from $603.59 18 used from $17.00
Kindle Book
Tell the Publisher!
I�d like to read this book on Kindle

Don�t have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.
Print Book
Just so you know...

Your Browsing History
Customers Also Bought

Book Description

September 1990
Colin Wilson tells the story of human violence from Peking Man to the Mafia - taking into account the calculated sadism of the Assyrians, the opportunism of the Greek pirates, the brutality that made Rome the ‘razor king of the Mediterranean’, the mindless destruction of the Vandals, the mass slaughter of Genghis Khan, Tamurlane, Ivan the Terrible, Vlad the Impaler and more. Each age has a unique characteristic pattern of crime. In the past three centuries crime has changed and evolved until the sex killer and the mass murderer have become symbols of all that is worst about our civilization. But this is not just a study in human depravity; it is an attempt to place crime in perspective against human discovery, exploration and invention. The result is a completely new approach to the history and psychology of human violence.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customers Viewing This Page May Be Interested in These Sponsored Links

  (What's this?)
Compra el libro que buscas. Ofertas especiales y todas las novedades.
Comprar libros de este autor Más de 140 millones de libros
"The High and the Low" From PBS series. Free US shipping.
See a problem with these advertisements? Let us know

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Colin Wilson lives in Cornwall with his wife. He was born in Leicester in 1931 and left school at sixteen working in several jobs before becoming a full-time writer with the publication of ‘The Outsider’. He is a renowned authority on the paranormal and is the author of over fifty books, with subjects ranging from mysticism to criminology. He has also written articles, plays and contributed to several newspapers and journals. He regards himself primarily as a philosopher concerned with the meaning of human existence, but unlike many ‘existentialists’, his outlook is basically optimistic. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf Pub (September 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881846465
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881846461
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,032,628 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Human nature at its darkest October 19, 2000
By Edward
I had read only one book by Colin Wilson ("The Outsider", of course) when I found a paperback in a used-book store. There followed a month of fairly intense reading, because "A Criminal History of Mankind" is fascinating from beginning to end, and many sections I read over again. Wilson divides the book into three main sections: 1) The Psychology of Human Violence 2) A Criminal Outline of History 3) The Age of Mass Murder. In the first section, Wilson notes that criminal actions have been motivated by the "hierarchy of needs":food, shelter, sex, and the need for admiration. (In recent years, we have seen those who commit murder in order to gain fame.) Wilson describes what he calls the "right man", a sociopath obsessed with image and self-esteem. Most of these people are life's losers, but not all. A startling exception is the successful comic actor Peter Sellers, whose son's biography shows Sellers to have been almost criminal in his manic, morbidly obsessive nature. The second section is, by Wilson's own admission, H.G. Wells' "Outline of History" from a criminal point of view, everything from ancient Athens to Victorian London. Interestingly, Wilson writes: "This book is centrally concerned with crime; but if we ignore the creativity, we shall not only fail to understand the crime: we shall miss the whole point of human history." The third section goes into our own era, the Bundys, the DeSalvos, the Mansons. Wilson spends a full 50 blood-drenched pages on the Mafia. The book, published in 1984, touches only briefly on the disturbing increase of children who kill. Along with the horrors, there are pages of incisive philosophy: "It is true that we cannot live without an ego; a person without an ego is little more than an idiot. Another name for ego is personality, and in artists, saints, and philosophers, the personality is a most valuable tool. Neither St Francis nor Beethoven nor Plato would have achieved much impact without their personalities. But the personality is a dangerous servant, for it has a perpetual hankering to become the master. Every time we are carried away by irritation or indignation, personality has mastered us."Violence will always be with us. A casual glance at yesterday's New York Times finds the coverage of a man who threw his baby from a 15-story window while bickering with his wife. But Wilson ends his riveting book with cautious optimism: Referring to the criminal as a distortion of humanity, he writes (and quotes the German poet Novalis) that when humanity itself is aware that this is only a nightmare, we are close to awakening.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece of history and philosophy November 28, 1998
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
The title is misleading... this is a work far beyond criminal history. It is comprehensive history and philosophical work... it is Colin Wilson at his best... and as always difficult to find but easy to read.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant romp through an unpleasant subject: us October 22, 1998
By A Customer
An enjoyable and thought-provoking romp through the horror that has been everyday life for most people. If you've read other Wilson I don't have to tell you that there are a good many questionable assertions and several straight-out mistakes. His Roman history section in particular leans way too much on the dazzling but unreliable Suetonius. But I enjoyed it anyway; work your way through three or four of his massive tomes and you can skip college!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Whistle-stop tour through the killing fields of history
Once again Colin Wilson has produced a brilliantly readable book, which takes the reader on a whistle-stop tour through the killing fields of history and, in the process, reminds... Read more
Published 4 months ago by still searching
1.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but very confused
Mr. Wilsons book is at its best when he sticks to just running through his colorful and slightly morbid summary of crime. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Jacob Christiansen
5.0 out of 5 stars I m happy with product and service
amazon is the best place to buy books,you can get here on unbelieveable price.Perticular seller is recommended to buy the books.
Published 22 months ago
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful prose and research
I bought my initial copy of this book almost 30 years ago. I am drawn to re-read it every four to five years and everytime, am overwhelmed by the effortless blending of research... Read more
Published on July 12, 2007 by D. Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars delivers what it promises....and more...
Just finished reading it (little hard to find copy) and once again Colin Wilson doesn't disappoint. I'm truly amazed at the amount of research the author put in. Read more
Published on May 31, 2003 by Rupesh Verma
5.0 out of 5 stars rhyme & reason
if you have ever read anything by colin wilson (certainly youve read "the outsider") then definetly read this book. Read more
Published on December 15, 1999 by jace
5.0 out of 5 stars the most comprehensive study of the criminal mind ever
This is a study of how and why man is naturally a criminally minded animal. The author takes many different arguments and theories, blended with his own views on why man is the... Read more
Published on October 25, 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars An engrossing...yet hard to
I rescued a copy of this book from my library's pulp stock...thank god. I think I've read it at least 20 times, because it's full of so much history, there's no way of... Read more
Published on October 23, 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
Really is a very good, informative read. I use this as a historical reference book. I would happily recommend this book to anyone who wants an intelligent read for a week or two... Read more
Published on June 5, 1998 by
5.0 out of 5 stars great book... recommend highly..hard to find.. phil and hist
this is a great book. the title is misleading since it is primarily about history and philosophy. I loaned my book to someone and have forgotten who... Read more
Published on March 8, 1998 by Conangib
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customers Also Bought Items By


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Tag this product

 (What's this?)
Think of a tag as a keyword or label you consider is strongly related to this product.
Tags will help all customers organize and find favorite items.

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more



So You'd Like to...

eGift This Item (What's this?)

  • Instant Delivery: E-mail a gift card suggesting this item
  • Flexible Gifting Choices: They can choose this, or pick from millions of other items.
eGift this item

Look for Similar Items by Category



If you need help or have a question for Customer Service, contact us.
 Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?
Is there any other feedback you would like to provide? Click here

Your Recent History (What's this?)