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That Beast Was Not Me: One Forensic Psychologist, Five Decades of Convers...

That Beast Was Not Me: One Forensic Psychologist, Five Decades of Convers...




In 1975, after Manson Family member Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme’s attempt to kill President Gerald Ford, the FBI found a cache of letters in the would-be assassin’s Sacramento apartment. The return address belonged to future forensic psychologist Jeffrey Smalldon, then a young undergraduate.


A decade later, after the shocking murders of two co-workers, Smalldon’s quest to understand the twisted minds and motivations of killers became personal in a way it never had been before.


THAT BEAST WAS NOT ME documents five decades of conversations with murderers like John Wayne Gacy, Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, serial sniper Thomas Lee Dillon, and Donald Harvey—then thought to be the most prolific serial killer in American history. Through letters, prison visits, and interviews, Smalldon gives readers a terrifying look into the darkest recesses of the human psyche.

SKU: 979-8-9865124-8-8

    412 pages. Paperback.


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    “In telling the story of the true crime obsessions that propelled him to a career as a leading forensic psychologist, Jeffrey Smalldon has produced an absolute page-turner of a book … gripping, propulsively readable. More than any other book I can think of, it succeeds in bringing near-mythical beings like Manson, Bundy, and Gacy to vivid, chilling life—while conveying the dark charisma that continues to make them objects of extreme fascination.”
    —Harold Schechter, author of 
    Murderabilia: A History of Crime in 100 Objects; Maniac: The Bath School Disaster and the Birth of the Modern Mass Killer; and Depraved: The Shocking True Story of America’s First Serial Killer

    “Jeffrey Smalldon follows his curiosity, even when it takes him close to the world’s most dangerous—or delusional—people … Reading this account is like being backstage for the killers’ performances; you learn a lot more about them than other correspondents might notice.”
    —Dr. Kathryn Ramsland, author of 
    The Serial Killer’s Apprentice; Confession of a Serial Killer: 
    The Untold Story of Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer; 
    The Forensic Psycholodyg of Criminal Minds;
     Inside the Minds of Serial Killers: Why They Kill

    “I’ll put it bluntly: I spent three years of my life researching and writing a biography of Charles Manson that was both critically acclaimed and a New York Times bestseller. After reading Smalldon’s book, I have to grudgingly acknowledge that there was a lot I missed. Damn it! Anyway, to sum up: all true crime books promise great things. That Beast Was Not Me is the rare example of one delivering exactly that.”
    —Jeff Guinn, author of Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson; Waco: David Koresh, the Branch Davidians, and a Legacy of Rage; Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde; and The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple

    “… a treasure trove of insights and observations culled from fifty years of personal and professional interest in the ultimate outsiders in American culture: mass and serial killers. Writing as both an aficionado and a forensic psychologist, he (Smalldon) has produced a book that has genuinely new and fascinating things to say about familiar subjects… essential reading for any fan of true crime.”
    —David Schmid, author of 
    Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture

    “Jeff Smalldon is one of the brightest and most interesting people I’ve ever talked to. After all, how many people can say they’ve been the consulting psychologist on close to three hundred death penalty cases and corresponded with the likes of Charles Manson, Squeaky Fromme, Susan Atkins, Ted Bundy, and John Wayne Gacy? And spent close to 20 hours sparring with Gacy in a death row visiting room? When I learned that Smalldon was at work on a book about his five decades of encounters with killing and killers, I was eager to read it. When I did, I really, really hated to see it end. Smalldon is a damn fine writer, and he has an incredible collection of vivid, highly personal stories to tell. There have been plenty of books written about serial and mass killers, quite a few bad ones along with a smaller number of good ones. In my opinion, That Beast Was Not Me stands among the finest, most interesting books in this genre.”
    —Donald Ray Pollock, author of 
    Knockemstiff; The Devil All the Time; and The Heavenly Table

    “In this remarkable memoir, forensic psychologist Jeffrey Smalldon turns a clinician’s eye onto his five decades of correspondence and conversations with some of history’s most notorious killers. Along the way, he meditates on his interactions with these killers and explores the circuitous path that took him, the inquisitive son of an FBI agent, from his job as a hospital administrator to a career analyzing the minds and motivations of hundreds of convicted killers. Fans of true crime will love That Beast Was Not Me.
    —Andrew Welsh-Huggins, author of No Winners Here Tonight, the definitive history of the death penalty in Ohio


    Jeffrey L. Smalldon

  • ISBN

    979-8-9865124-8-8 paperback

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