Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Perils of Literary Profiling

Forging a deep link between criminals and their books can be even more quixotic. Ed Sanders, in “The Family,” tells us that one of Charles Manson’s favorite books was Robert Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land,” but we’re also told that Manson was barely literate. Both John Hinckley Jr. (Reagan’s would-be assassin) and Mark David Chapman (the murderer of John Lennon) have been connected to “The Catcher in the Rye,” Hinckley by having a copy in his hotel room, Chapman by calmly reading the book outside the Dakota apartment building while waiting for the police to arrive after he shot Lennon. But it’s hardly surprising that a book that has sold well over 35 million copies has occasionally fallen into the hands of criminals.

From a NYTimes Article by Geoff Nicholson

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