Lonnie Athens examines a problem that has long baffled experts and lay people alike: How does a person become a dangerous violent criminal? He explains how those who commit brutal crimes begin as relatively benign individuals who undergo lengthy, at times tortuous. development leading them to malevolence. The process that Athens labels "violentization" encompasses four stages: brutalization, belligerency, violent performance, and virulency. Athens uses vivid first-person accounts gleaned from in-depth interviews with nascent and hardened violent criminals to back up his theory, producing a book that will appeal to a wide variety of readers interested in criminal justice, law, and sociology.
Lonnie Athens has been studying violent criminals for 20 years, served as a consultant on capital murder cases, and has published an earlier book, Violent Criminal Acts and Actors. He was senior research criminologist at Georgetown University Law Center and now teaches in the criminology department at Seton Hall University.