Book Review: Incendiary: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber, and the Invention of Criminal Profiling

Long before Ted Kaczynski, a man called F.P. set off three dozen pipe bombs throughout New York City in the 1940s and 1950s. By 1956, the NYPD had spent 16 years fruitlessly attempting to identify and capture the “Mad Bomber.” None of these bombs proved lethal to the public, and not all of them even detonated. But, as the author notes, it “brought into being a culture of fear more than four decades before terrorism became an American fixation.” Author Michael Cannell details the dangers faced by the members of the NYPD Bomb Squad, as well as the state of terror created by explosions in crowded, random places such as the New York City subway, Grand Central Terminal, Radio City Music Hall, and the New York Public Library.