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.
Sociologist Norman K. Denzin characterized Lonnie Athens's earlier work
as "the most far-reaching, provocative, and profound analysis of violent conduct" available in criminological literature. In Violent Criminal Acts and Actors Revisited, Athens returns to his pioneering work and finds that his premises are just as relevant and original as in their earlier version--and that they have been curiously, and to society's detriment, overlooked.
Rather than finding the causes of criminal behavior in external forces
or personality disorders, as conventional wisdom often does, Athens renews his fundamental argument that a violent situation comes into being when defined by an individual as a situation that calls for violence--that an actor responds to the circumstance as he or she defines it. Based on the author's many firsthand interviews with offenders and on his personal experience, Violent Criminal Acts and Actors Revisited augments Athens’s call to reexamine the source and locus of violent criminal behavior.