Forensic History: Crimes, Frauds, and Scandals : The Great Courses: History of Science

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Elizabeth A. Murray
  • Series: The Great Courses: History of Science
  • 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Modern history is filled with terrible crimes, baffling hoaxes, and seedy scandals. The infamous Jack the Ripper slayings. The alleged survival of Anastasia Romanov, the youngest daughter of the murdered Tsar. Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong's public fall from grace. The Chicago Tylenol poisonings and the copycat crimes that followed.
Step into the world of forensic science and study the most fascinating crimes and mysteries from the last two centuries in the 24 lectures of Forensic History: Crimes, Frauds, and Scandals. Professor Murray, a forensic anthropologist with nearly 30 years of experience in the field, has crafted lectures that are a remarkable blend of storytelling and science - a whirlwind tour that takes you from the gas-lit streets of Victorian London to small-town America. As you journey around the world and into the past, you'll re-examine modern history's great crimes and scandals using the tools and insights of forensic science. In doing so, you'll learn how cutting-edge advancements in science and technology are applied to investigations and how to evaluate evidence and think like a forensic scientist.
Using her extensive background in the field and her skill at weaving riveting stories, Professor Murray invites you peer over the shoulders of investigators as they examine some of the most famous crimes in history, as well as cases that shed light on what happens when the justice system goes awry. Whether they're controversial or by-the-book, solved or unsolved, hot or cold, these cases are an opportunity to gain deeper insight into the historic and cutting-edge methods and tools forensic scientists use on the job. Having participated in hundreds of investigations in America and abroad, Professor Murray intersperses these historical examinations with some of her own, equally intriguing, personal experiences.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

History of tabloid crimes - very little science

From the title and summary I garnered the impression that this was going to be a college type course covering famous crimes and their solving from a forensic SCIENCE view point. In practicality, it is an almost tabloid-like recounting of historical events with a surprising amount of unproven conjecture and conspiracy (in fairness labeled as such) and very little explanation as to how the field of forensic science actually worked and developed. The professor does an acceptable job at story telling, but don't expect to learn anything more about the workings of forensic science than what you would from an average article about the crimes in question. Had I spent college tuition type dollars on this course, I would have been terribly disappointed and would wonder what it had to do with any degree. However, in this format it was passable while exercising, doing yard work etc.
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- Jouko

Different from many of The Great Courses

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Kudos to Audible for placing this series under the "True Crime" category. That's an unusual place to put one of The Great Courses, but it applies perfectly to this series, which plays out like a true crime detective show.

Don't get me wrong. I love The Great Courses. I'm addicted to The Great Courses. It's just that the buyer should understand that this series is more history than science. Oh, the science is there, but you're learning more about the history of how and when it was developed -- and how that science did (or didn't) play a role in landmark cases -- than you are in the minutia of how the science works.


Any additional comments?

Professor Murray has a folksy style that I found engaging. She has a dry wit, and I suppose that's a requirement given the work that she does. If the idea of hearing about decaying bodies, sexual mutilation, or other grizzly crimes on your daily commute sounds too disgusting, you might want to try a different title.

If this type of history sounds good but you'd prefer something that focused less on murder, then I highly recommend Doctors: The History of Medicine Told Through Biography, also by The Great Courses. Brilliant.

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- Quaker

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-12-2014
  • Publisher: The Great Courses