10 Engrossing Books About Past and Present Crimes

If you love thrilling tales of true crime, then you've come to the right place. The ten engrossing books listed here give readers a glimpse at criminals ranging from Victorian-era murderers to notorious gangsters and are as well-researched and informative as they are entertaining. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

10 Engrossing Books About Past and Present Crimes

Title Author(s)
1. Whitey Gerard O’Neill & Dick Lehr
2. To the Bridge Nancy Rommelmann
3. The Corporation T.J. English
4. Legal Highs Wensley Clarkson
5. The Five Hallie Rubenhold
6. Destruction of Innocence Gavin de Becker & Emily Horowitz
7. Sex Money Murder Jonathan Green
8. Beneath a Ruthless Sun Gilbert King
9. Ballad of the Whiskey Robber Julian Rubinstein
10. An American Summer Alex Kotlowitz

8 Great Crime Films

If you love reading about crime, you probably enjoy the genre in film as well. Here are ten movies that you should definitely watch (if you haven't already):

  1. The Godfather (1972)
  2. Scarface (1983)
  3. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  4. Pulp Fiction (1994)
  5. The Usual Suspects (1995)
  6. Kill Bill (2003)
  7. Sin City (2005)
  8. Baby Driver (2017)

Why Do We Love Watching Crime?

In Depth

Who doesn't love a juicy true crime story? For the non-squeamish and the intensely curious, there's nothing more engaging than an incredible, stranger-than-fiction yarn about a murder or an unbelievable robbery. If you love to follow age-old cold cases and can't wait to get your next true crime fix, here, in no particular order, are some of the best books out there that offer shocking real-life stories.

In the #1 spot is Gerard O'Neill and Dick Lehr's "Whitey," which centers on notorious gangster Whitey Bulger, and how he forged his own crime empire to rival that of Al Capone or John Gotti. In this deeply researched biography, crime fans will get the full story, from his Southside upbringing to his manipulation of FBI agents, showing what a terrifying person he truly was.

For #2 we get "To the Bridge" by Nancy Rommelmann. The result of seven years of research, this read is a gripping exploration into the mind of Amanda Stott-Smith, a mother who calmly threw two of her three children into the Willamette River in 2009. The author not only attempts to unravel the mystery of what led up to the crime, but also focuses on the emotional journey of those affected by it.

The result of seven years of research, this read is a gripping exploration into the mind of Amanda Stott-Smith, a mother who calmly threw two of her three children into the Willamette River in 2009.

For #3, we find T.J. English's "The Corporation." The Cuban Mafia has a chilling history, but few know just how deep it goes. Within their private enclave, the "corporation," comprised of some of the most violent, ruthless, and daring criminal minds, plotted to end Marxist rule in Cuba, corrupt the police force in America, and get by with as much illegal activity as humanly possible.

At #4 is "Legal Highs" by Wensley Clarkson. There's a new class of drug in town, and though it's potentially even deadlier than some of the most dangerous illegal substances out there, it's perfectly legal. Journalist Clarkson focuses on the flux of new, powerful amphetamines that are taking over the market and changing the drug trade as we know it.

From the terrifying "Miaow Miaow" that makes teens self-harm to the prominence of dangerous home-grown substances, how is this new wave of narcotics changing the way our culture fights against addiction?

At #5 is Hallie Rubenhold's "The Five." Everyone knows the story of Jack the Ripper. What we don't know are the stories of his victims, those five women who were brutally murdered on shady London streets. The women who were murdered by the Ripper in 1888 never crossed paths, but they had a lot more in common than their shared bad luck.

In this fascinating history, Rubenhold sets the record straight and empowers the five known Ripper victims by telling their complex stories in full.

Coming in at #6 is "Destruction of Innocence" by Gavin de Becker and Emily Horowitz. Focusing largely on the famous child abuse case covered in the film "Capturing the Friedmans," this thorough exploration asks readers to question how much they really know about many famous cases. Covering more than 72 convictions of the 1980s and 90s, readers are shown how the truth can easily be twisted in the wake of a huge social scandal.

Covering more than 72 convictions of the 1980s and 90s, readers are shown how the truth can easily be twisted in the wake of a huge social scandal.

For #7, we have Jonathan Green's "Sex Money Murder." In New York's Soundview projects during the 80s and 90s, as crack use pervaded and the Bronx achieved the highest murder rate in the country, a new era of gangs, drugs, and violence was starting to bubble up in New York's poorest neighborhoods. In this investigative piece, seasoned journalist Green follows a few key players in their quest to belong, thrive, and come out on top in the gritty world of urban gang culture.

For #8 we get Gilbert King's "Beneath a Ruthless Sun," which tells the true story of the rape of a prominent Florida man's wife in 1957. With the woman assigning the blame to a black man, and a mentally-challenged white teen eventually coming under fire for the crime, it's up to town reporter Mabel Norris Reese to separate fact from fiction.

At #9 is "Ballad of the Whiskey Robber" by Julian Rubinstein. Attila Ambrus might seem like a character ripped from the pages of your favorite spy novel. In the 1990s, Ambrus was gaining quite the reputation as a gentleman thief.

Attila Ambrus might seem like a character ripped from the pages of your favorite spy novel.

When the Budapest-based pro-hockey player decided to rob a few banks to make ends meet, he unwittingly set off one of the most bizarre cases in crime history. In this retelling of the little-known tale of Ambrus and the inept police force that eventually managed to track him down, Rubinstein is able to tell a story that's truly stranger than any fiction.

Finally, at #10, we find Alex Kotlowitz's "An American Summer." In the past twenty years alone, the number of deaths by gunfire in Chicago has soared, leaving community members in shock and a persistent state of mourning. How did it get this bad, and why was this kind of unchecked violence allowed to proliferate? Urban affairs writer Kotlowitz interviewed and studied inhabitants of a city unusually impacted by violence over the course of one summer to create a portrait of a city torn, and defined, by criminal activity.