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Beating the Devil's Game: A History of Forensic Science and Criminal Investigationby Katherine Ramsland
Synopses & Reviews
Today, the basic precepts of criminal investigation—fingerprints, DNA, blood evidence—are known among professionals and lay people alike. But behind each of these familiar concepts is a fascinating story of the evolution of science and law, spearheaded by innovative thinkers, many of whom risked their careers for more perfect justice.
Dr. Katherine Ramsland, renowned expert in criminology, traces that development from thirteenth-century Chinese studies of decomposition through the Renaissance and the era of Newtonian physics to the marvels of the present day and beyond. Along the way, she introduces us to forensic pioneers and visionaries who galvanized the field, raised investigative standards, and whose efforts have kept us just steps ahead of increasingly sophisticated criminals.
"'Noted forensic expert Ramsland (The Forensic Science of C.S.I.) disappoints with this plodding history of the evolution of forensic investigation. Tracing the earliest roots of what has become an invaluable component of criminal investigations and legal proceedings, Ramsland begins in ancient Greece, with Heraclitus' and Paramenides' philosophies of change and permanence as the governing forces of the world. Moving her way through the Industrial Revolution and Charles Dickens's apparent coining of the word 'detective,' Ramsland laboriously documents case after case as investigators refine methods of fingerprinting, poison detection, ballistics and identification of potential repeat offenders. Ramsland concludes with a brief exploration of the future of forensic investigation, from sophisticated DNA analysis to the global role of forensics in the age of terrorism. Too little time is spent on some of history's most notorious cases (such as Lizzie Borden and Leopold and Loeb), with Ramsland instead offering numerous accounts of husbands poisoning their rich wives. Despite a subject so ripe for historical and sociological examination, Ramsland waters down her topic until the cases run together. Without any variation in her chronological narration, Ramsland will lose even the most dedicated of readers and C.S.I. fans. (Sept. 4)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
First time in paperback? essential reading for the millions of fans of CSI and Cold Case Files.
Katherine Ramsland, a renowned expert in criminology, traces the story of the evolution of forensic science??from thirteenth-century Chinese studies of decomposition through the flowering of science during the Renaissance and its veritable explosion during the era of Newtonian physics, to the marvels of the present day and beyond. Along the way, she introduces readers to such forensic pioneers as the father of toxicology; the criminalturned- detective who founded the Parisian Sureté; and trailblazers like William Bass whose integrated program in entomology, anthropology, and pathology at the Forensic Anthropology Center has galvanized the field.
Dr. Ramslands fascinating book traces the history of forensic science and the evolution of criminal investigation from 13th-century Chinese studies of decomposition, through the flowering of science during the Renaissance, up to the marvels of the present day.
About the Author
Dr. Katherine Ramsland's multiple degrees include a master's in forensic psychology. She is the author of more than two dozen books, and currently teaches forensic psychology as an assistant professor at DeSales University in Pennsylvania.
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