Dr Julia Shaw is a scientist in the Department of Psychology at University College London and is also an expert on criminal cases when she isn’t training cops on criminal behaviour. Making Evil takes us into the minds of murderers, creepo’s, paedophiles and psycho’s and is a must read for any true crime or fan of psychology.

Making Evil is quite an interactive book, which may sound strange given the subject matter, but Dr Julia Shaw certainly likes to kick your brain into gear and shine a mirror on your own thoughts and actions. She makes you think about shameful things you may have done that you are glad no-one knows about. If people did, would they think you weird, or odd, or at worst, evil?

There are also some very thought-provoking questions. For example; knowing what you know today about Adolf Hitler would you go back in time and kill him to save all of those tortured lives? But, what if you could only go back in time to kill baby Hitler, who is nothing more than a tiny cute baby, yet to show signs of maniacal evil? Would you still be able to do it?

Baby Hitler – Hair game was always severe it seems

Another question asked in the book is about an out of control train. It’s hurtling down a track where five innocent people are strapped down and stuck. You can divert the train, but to do so need to push a man out of the way and off a bridge. Would you sacrifice one for many? How do you make the distinction between who lives and dies? Do you have the right to play God?

What does evil mean to you? I like to think I’m a pretty nice person with emotional intelligence and empathy. However, I eat meat. So, im sure there are plenty of vegetarians and vegans out there who find the fact I eat animals disgusting and evil. A murderer. I abhor anyone who wears fur and the dog meat industry and cruelty which happens in China makes me feel sick. Where is the line? Am I a hypocrite?

Making Evil delves into murderers at length. Is there a time when murder is a good thing? For example, a cop who kills a terrorist before they blow up a school? Is that when killing someone is good and not evil? Can a good person commit a terrible crime due to mental health issues, or a snap decision which ended horribly such as a one-punch attack in a drug-fueled rage? What about Jeffrey Dhamer who cooly helped the cops understand his horrific crimes of murder, cannibalism and dismemberment. What goes on in the mind of such a person? Are they insane or completely evil and sadistic?

“Let me help you find your evil empathy” – Dr Julia Shaw

Yep. That’s a line in the beginning of the book and it’s a confronting one. I found some of Dr Shaws comments quite controversial and hard for me to get my head around. Some points came across a little “come on guys, let’s forgive the murderers, most of them are kinda ok!” It’s a broad paraphrase but it certainly had me questioning some of the logic, but not dismissing it, and that’s what’s intriguing about Making Evil.

Making Evil is a book that will intrigue, confront, challenge and expand your knowledge and understanding. Be prepared to come away with more questions than answers, and maybe booking yourself in with your therapist!

A must for all murderino’s and psychology fans.

making evil. a peek into humanity's dark side
Making Evil Published 4th March
by Allen & Unwin RRP $29.99