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Oberndorf, C.P. (1928). The New Criminology: By Max G. Schlapp, M.D., New York Post Graduate Medical School, and Edward H. Smith. (Boni and Liveright, New York, 1928. Pp. 314. Price $3.00.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 9:500-501.
(1928). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 9:500-501
The New Criminology: By Max G. Schlapp, M.D., New York Post Graduate Medical School, and Edward H. Smith. (Boni and Liveright, New York, 1928. Pp. 314. Price $3.00.)
Review by: C. P. Oberndorf
The chief claim to distinction of the late Dr. Max Schlapp rests in excellent neuro-pathological work done by him in his earlier years. In this posthumous work, his theories of the causes of crime are recorded by a collaborator, Mr. E. H. Smith, who resorts to tabloid reporting style with a never-failing, vehement striving for dramatic climaxes. The case reports are vivid vignettes which will hold the attention of lay readers and his categorical statements will appeal to popular imagination more than the cautious postulates and careful research which scientists are publishing in this field.
Any bid for scientific acceptance which Dr. Schlapp's theory of the origin of crime may make is, however, doomed in the first few pages. His credo is that 'the glandular theory of crime accounts for all discrepancies, errors, oversights and inadequacies of the earlier explanations and that many thousands of children are born malformed, both externally and internally through the chemical imbalance of their mothers' blood and lymph during pregnancy, which is most often due to disturbances of the ductless glands. Such individuals are the typical criminals of Lombroso'. Our scientific scepticism is immediately aroused when we read that these theories are based on twenty years of laboratory and clinical experiments and observations of more than 30, 000 cases. Dr. Schlapp's bewildering profusion of cases must convince those acquainted with the intricacy of either endocrinological or psychopathological studies, and more particularly their co-relation, as preclusive of accurate work. In his case reports he attributes the various forms of delinquencies with monotonous regularity to glandular defects which he often admits are inferential, and the inference is frequently unsubstantiated by even fragmentary metabolic studies. The authors dismiss the psycho-analytic studies of human motivation in a few paragraphs, feeling that 'the deadly symptom in all this psycho-analytic business sticks out in its use of terms'.
Notwithstanding the utter disregard for scientific proof of his position, Dr. Schlapp makes an eloquent appeal for reform in both criminal procedure and correction. In fact, claim is made that Dr.
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