#BookReview: My Life With Murderers Professor David Wilson @ProfDavidWilson @BooksSphere

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Source: Waterstones Purchase

I was lucky enough to not only see David Wilson in conversation with Lin Anderson at Bloody Scotland this year but I also got the chance to spend some time chatting with him in the bar on the Friday night. It is always an honour to meet someone you have admired for a long time and when they turn out to be as lovely and as fascinating as you hoped they would be then it is even better!

Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:

Professor David Wilson has spent his professional life working with violent men – especially men who have committed murder. Aged twenty-nine he became, at that time, the UK’s youngest ever prison Governor in charge of a jail and his career since then has seen him sat across a table with all sorts of killers: sometimes in a tense interview; sometimes sharing a cup of tea (or something a little stronger); sometimes looking them in the eye to tell them that they are a psychopath.

Some of these men became David’s friends; others would still love to kill him.

My Life with Murderers tells the story of David’s journey from idealistic prison governor to expert criminologist and professor. With experience unlike any other, David’s story is a fascinating and compelling study of human nature 

My thoughts:

My Life With Murderers provides a fascinating insight into the mind of some of the country’s most violent and sadistic men. David Wilson gives an honest and informative overview into the mindset of men who kill.

This book is a must for those with an interest in crime both for pleasure (not really the right word but you know what I mean!) and for professional or research purposes. He discusses his views on the penal system and rehabilitation, views which I share and find refreshing to have validated in this book.

He makes no excuses for violence or murder but rather seeks to understand in order to address and reduce it. Prisons are supposed to rehabilitate, but the sad reality is that they are largely holding pens for individuals until release. Each chapter provokes and challenges the reader to look at their own views and bias; some of the stories behind the crimes are heartbreaking and, for me,frustrating when I know how little rehabilitation is actually carried out in the system. But Professor Wilson is no soft touch, he firmly believes that while rehabilitation is possible for all, there are some crimes that require a prisoner to remain in prison as their crimes have been so heinous and society needs to know that justice has been served .

The book also explores profiling and the importance of a victim centred approach if we want to understand the motivation for murder and more importantly change policy to reduce violent offending and murder in the future.

My Life with Murderers is a book jam packed with fascinating facts, thought provoking case studies and it has left me craving more!

My Life With Murderers is available to purchase from:


Amazon UK

Amazon US

About David Wilson:

David Wilson

David Wilson is Emeritus Professor of Criminology and the founding Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology at Birmingham City University. Prior to taking up an academic appointment in 1997, David was a Prison Governor and at 29 became the youngest governing governor in England.  

He worked at Grendon, Wormwood Scrubs and at Woodhill in Milton Keynes – where he designed and ran the two units for the 12 most violent prisoners in the country, which brought him into contact with virtually every recent serial killer.  David regularly appears in the print and broadcast media as a commentator and presenter.

​David won the Broadcast and RTS Awards for best documentary in 2017 for Interview with a Murderer.

2 thoughts on “#BookReview: My Life With Murderers Professor David Wilson @ProfDavidWilson @BooksSphere

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