This non-fiction autobiographical book, published in 1995, tells the story of John Douglas over his twenty-five year career as a mind hunter in the FBI's serial crime unit through his retirement in 1995. John Douglas co-authors "Mindhunter" and the book's content is based on his twenty-five year career with the FBI's Investigative Support Unit. Douglas organizes and manages the unit from its beginning in 1980 to his retirement in 1995. Mindhunter is the story of his life and experiences profiling criminals. The co-author Mark Olshaker brings his experiences as a novelist and filmmaker who produces the PBS Nova program "Mind of a Serial Killer." In John Douglas' own words he presents the real story of the evil that the dragon represents as he confronts it throughout his career.
This book is his story of twenty-five years in the pursuit of criminal justice. He seems to be a good man but is obsessed with his task to the apparent loss of a happy home life. The topic makes the book not all that pleasant to read despite its value. Hard truths are presented in an effort to face the experience of man at its most despicable level. Truths that Douglas presents make one shudder but admire the FBI's persistent commitment exhibited in the serial crime unit. Mindhunter is a valuable book, yet painful to read because of its brutal honesty.
Mindhunter is comprised of 384 pages of non-fiction historical accounting of Douglas' life and career. The book has a Prologue, nineteen chapters, inserted photographs and an Index. Prologue and early chapters discuss his recuperation from emotional breakdown and describe his personal life before the FBI. Douglas profiles criminals interspersed with philosophical comments and theories he develops through those experiences. Final chapters summarize thoughts and reflections after his retirement from the FBI. Chapter titles are descriptive like, "I Must be in Hell," "The Heart of Darkness" and "Who Killed the All-American Girl?" The Index is particularly useful to research or look up one or another criminal or concept. Photographs of the Douglas family and other agents provide a pleasant offset to photos of the criminals they apprehend or interview. The book is an easy read of the experiences Douglas has as an agent although the content and its harsh, clinical reality is not always easy to read. The language is simple and straightforward and the concepts are readily understandable.