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Tarachow, S. (1963). The Mold of Murder. A Psychiatric Study of Homicide: By Walter Bromberg, M.D. New York: Grune & Stratton, Inc., 1961 230 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 32:442-444.

(1963). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 32:442-444

The Mold of Murder. A Psychiatric Study of Homicide: By Walter Bromberg, M.D. New York: Grune & Stratton, Inc., 1961 230 pp.

Review by:
Sidney Tarachow

Directed to physicians, psychiatrists, social workers, parole and probation officers, judges, and the intelligent layman, this is an excellent book with a dynamic psychiatric basis. The author makes free use of psychoanalytic concepts and is strongly influenced in his eclectic and catholic points of view especially by Karpman, Schilder, and Adolf Meyer. He himself has had wide experience in criminal psychiatry.

His attention is directed less to psychiatric categories than to problems of motivation and developmental psychopathology. Bromberg points out that eighty percent of all felons are 'normal', meaning that they cannot be classified under any psychiatric category. He then illustrates the important psychological problems at work in the 'normal' murderer. He also calls attention to the interesting fact that although only four percent of convicted felons in New York County are women, eighteen and one-half percent of all arrests for criminal homicide were women. Most of these were for infanticide and abortion.

The author is primarily interested in defensive aggression against insecurity and dependency and in the sociopath or psychopath. Insecurity and dependency are equated with femininity, passivity, latent passive homosexuality, and fantasies of castration and dismemberment. Here he leans heavily on Schilder and his co-workers. He points to the homosexual nucleus in the male killer. The largest single consideration in the book is psychopathy, which is treated at length.

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