The Fictioning Horror Sale

Recently Viewed clear list

Original Essays | September 4, 2014

Edward E. Baptist: IMG The Two Bodies of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

My new book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, is the story of two bodies. The first body was the new... Continue »
  1. $24.50 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

Qualifying orders ship free.
New Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
available for shipping or prepaid pickup only
Available for In-store Pickup
in 7 to 12 days
Qty Store Section
25 Remote Warehouse Crime- Criminology

This title in other editions

Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture


Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Jeffrey Dahmer. Ted Bundy. John Wayne Gacy. Over the past thirty years, serial killers have become iconic figures in America, the subject of made-for-TV movies and mass-market paperbacks alike. But why do we find such luridly transgressive and horrific individuals so fascinating? What compels us to look more closely at these figures when we really want to look away? Natural Born Celebrities considers how serial killers have become lionized in American culture and explores the consequences of their fame.

David Schmid provides a historical account of how serial killers became famous and how that fame has been used in popular media and the corridors of the FBI alike. Ranging from H. H. Holmes, whose killing spree during the 1893 Chicago World's Fair inspired The Devil in the White City, right up to Aileen Wuornos, the lesbian prostitute whose vicious murder of seven men would serve as the basis for the hit film Monster, Schmid unveils a new understanding of serial killers by emphasizing both the social dimensions of their crimes and their susceptibility to multiple interpretations and uses. He also explores why serial killers have become endemic in popular culture, from their depiction in The Silence of the Lambs and The X-Files to their becoming the stuff of trading cards and even Web sites where you can buy their hair and nail clippings.

Bringing his fascinating history right up to the present, Schmid ultimately argues that America needs the perversely familiar figure of the serial killer now more than ever to manage the fear posed by Osama bin Laden since September 11.

"This is a persuasively argued, meticulously researched, and compelling examination of the media phenomenon of the 'celebrity criminal' in American culture. It is highly readable as well."—Joyce Carol Oates

About the Author

David Schmid is associate professor of English at the University at Buffalo.

Table of Contents


Introduction - Idols of Destruction: Celebrity, Consumerism, and the Serial Killer

Part One: A History of Serial Murder

1. The Victorian Killer as Media Star: Jack the Ripper and H. H. Holmes

2. Defining the Enemy Within: The FBI and Serial Murder

Part Two: Serial Murder in American Popular Culture

3. Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers and the Hollywood Star System

4. Out of This World: Aliens, Devils, and Serial Killers in Television Crime Drama

5. Next Door Monsters: The Dialectic of Normality and Monstrosity in True-Crime Narratives

6. The Unbearable Straightness of Violence: Queering Serial Murder in True Crime

Epilogue - Serial Killing in America after 9/11


Works Cited


Product Details

Schmid, David
University of Chicago Press
Americas (North Central South West Indies)
Public opinion
Murder - Serial Killers
Serial murderers -- United States.
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
9 x 6 in

Other books you might like

  1. Serial Killers Used Trade Paper $5.95
  2. Depraved: The Shocking True Story of... Used Hardcover $11.50
  3. Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty... Used Mass Market $4.95
  4. I: The Creation of a Serial Killer Used Mass Market $4.95
  5. Journey into darkness :follow the... Used Hardcover $5.50
  6. Art & Fear: Observations on the...
    Used Trade Paper $8.00

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Crime » Criminology
History and Social Science » Crime » True Crime
History and Social Science » World History » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » General

Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$33.75 In Stock
Product details 336 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226738697 Reviews:
  • back to top
Follow us on...

Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at