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Sort order. Oct 14, Paul Bryant rated it really liked it Shelves: true-crime.

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One day a mother and her friend went shopping in a big mall in Bootle, Merseyside. She took her almost three year old along. He was toddling around the shops with her. She was buying meat for the Sunday roast and when she looked round, he was gone. He was there one minute, playing at the shop entrance, and gone the next. That was the last she saw of him. Two ten year old boys, truanting from school, had led him away from the shop, away from his mother, and away from the shopping mall. Jon Venables leads James Bulger, aged 2 and 11 months, away.


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His friend Bobby Thompson is just in front of the two. The boys took the kid on a rambling two and a half mile walk through the town lasting a couple of hours. They were seen by dozens of people, most of whom thought the little kid was their brother. When anyone asked, because the kid was crying a lot, they would say they were taking him home. They dragged him on to a railway embankment, opposite Walton Police Station, and there they threw bricks at him, stamped on him and dropped a metal bar on his head. He died from multiple skull fractures.

He threw all the bricks. We just did. That was the pathology of a lot of German murderers during the Third Reich. It was group think. It was people abdicating responsibility upwards. Everything is happening just like he said it would. They were little kids, and they decided to murder a littler kid. So did they really mean to kill him? If so, where did that horror come from?

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (El sueño de la razon produce monstruos)

Towards the end of this book the author tries to fathom intent. Surely this is the heart of the matter. When they lured James away what was their intention? Smith says : It does not seem to have been much of a plan, and in this context, it is hard to accept that they knew they were going to kill a child. It probably did not go much further than that to begin with.

It took two hours to get from the shopping mall to the railway tracks where they killed James.

Art Comparison: The Dream vs. The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters

When did the idea of actual murder appear in their minds? Perhaps it never did. Perhaps they just enjoyed the cruelty they appeared to be allowed to inflict and it just got worse. And then it was what have we done? These kids came from the underclass.

Antiwar Songs (AWS) - The Sleep of Reason

Their families were chaotic, were from the ranks of the lowliest Scouser uneducated unemployed petty crime alcoholic ducking and diving black economy class. Smith includes what is almost a stand-alone impassioned essay at the end of this book saying that this is where to look for the motive, that evil is no longer a functioning concept.

It may be that every murder is symbolic and these two kids from such miserable backgrounds were given this tragic opportunity to direct their anguish and hatred of their own situations, their own powerlessness, onto the two year old, one of the few creatures even more powerless than themselves. James becomes a scapegoat, and the scapegoat was killed.

In this reading, we are complex, soft machines, and if you put violence and abuse in at one end, you get violence and abuse coming out at the other end. He acknowledges that his argument is always — well, many kids are brought up in families as bad or worse than these two, and they never killed a two year old. This book is in the top half of division two.

One came from a family background you could describe as difficult, another from a family he himself later described as alcoholic; but those boys turned into The Beatles. View all 11 comments. Aug 27, Peter Pinkney rated it it was amazing. This book is disturbing and very very sad. It also made me angry remembering the press and other morons saying that the boys should be locked up forever. The author does a brilliant job of showing that Jon Venables and Robert Thompson were victims too.

I have always believed that. It always reminded me of a Hammer Horror film-crowds of peasants, with their pitchforks and flaming torches, baying for blood. Crimes like this are caused by poverty and abuse. The answer is to stop that happ This book is disturbing and very very sad. The answer is to stop that happening-not to take an Old Testament type revenge. One thing the author gets absolutely right is the nonsense about violent video films and their role in it. Childs Play was just a crap film, and had nothing to do with the case, but tabloids would like people to believe differently.

Sigh, Twas ever thus View 2 comments. A well researched account of the abduction and murder of two year old James Bulger by two ten year old boys in the early nineties in northern England. Having already read quite extensively about this case, I felt there was little new to be learnt but found in actual fact the detail of this book to be thorough enough for me to take something away. This crime was horrific, and as the mother of a young son myself, all the more shocking. The author has detailed well the events leading up to the murd A well researched account of the abduction and murder of two year old James Bulger by two ten year old boys in the early nineties in northern England.

The author has detailed well the events leading up to the murder, as well as the aftermath and the court case itself. The only main issue I had reading this book was how little was focused on the Bulger family and how they coped - and are still coping - with the murder of their little boy. Jun 09, Janette rated it it was ok. There are facts and transcripts galore here so the author obviously did his research, which is why the book garnered two stars from me instead of just one.

Had David James Smith just stuck to the factual retelling, I'd have had no issue. But by the latter half of the book, his obvious bias in favor of James's murderers was just too much for me to stomach. I found the author's concern for the boys' anxiety about going to trial and his speculation as to abuse they may have suffered without an iota of supporting evidence just ridiculous. Frankly, they SHOULD have been scared since the forensic and other evidence against them was so overwhelming as to leave zero doubt about their guilt.

They were thieves and miscreants prior to February 12, and they not only lied repeatedly about their involvement during police interviews, but also tried to hide their crime and even attempted to kidnap and murder another 2-year-old shortly before abducting, torturing, and beating James to death. As we know, the jury did ultimately find both Thompson and Venables guilty, yet neither has ever spent a single day in jail for this crime. Rather, they've enjoyed years of state-funded education and training, free housing and care, shopping trips, and new identities 3 or 4 times now for their protection at considerable taxpayer expense.

For David James Smith to add insult to injury by attempting to elicit sympathy for such pedophile murderers should be deeply offensive to any decent-minded person. Apr 25, Ninny rated it it was amazing Shelves: s , non-fiction , british , crime , true-crime. This is not bedtime reading. It took me over a month to get through simply because it's not the right thing to read if one is in any kind of low mood.

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No one seemed to set the tragedy of James Bulger's death against the fact that these criminals who "should be hanged" were just 10 years old.