Books for Free PDF Crime – Criminal Punishment – Terrorism

Books for Free PDF Crime, True Life Detectives, Books Online about the Mafia, Criminal Justice System, Terrorists in the U.S.

Hint: When a book you want at Internet Archive is already checked out, go to the Internet Archive’s ‘Search’ box, check “Search Metadata”, and search for the book’s title. Sometimes they have two or more copies.

Century Past Library


Crime, Detection & Punishment

Crime Collection

Almost 11,000 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Crime”. Some of the titles: Crime, prisons, and jails; Poverty, crime and punishment; The encyclopedia of high-tech crime and crime-fighting; Encyclopedia of crime & justice; Crime-fighting devices; Crime lab 101 : experimenting with crime detection; Crime & punishment : law & order. Be patient as the page loads.

Criminal Law Collection

About 250 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Criminal Law. Some of the titles: Criminal law : text, cases and materials; Crime and the legal process; What’s the verdict : you’re the judge in 90 tricky courtroom cases; California criminal law concepts, 2001; Federal criminal law and its enforcement; Criminal law for the layman : a citizen’s guide. Books for Free PDF Crime.

Law Enforcement Collection

About 300 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Law Enforcement. Books for Free PDF Crime. Some of the book titles: Cop speak : the lingo of law enforcement and crime; ARCO teach yourself to pass law enforcement exams in 24 hours; Policing in Canada; Becoming a police officer; Law enforcement careers : a complete guide from application to employment; American police : a history.

Violent Crimes Collection

About 130 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Violent Crimes”. Some of the book titles: Gun violence; The crime drop in America; Crime is not the problem : lethal violence in America; A criminal history of mankind; Criminal violence : patterns, causes, and prevention; Understanding violence and victimization; Reducing hate crimes and violence among American youth.. Books for free PDF crime.

Organized Crime Collection

More than 550 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Organized Crime”. Some of the book titles: Organized crime : a reference handbook; The good rat : a true story; Crime school : money laundering; Is the Mafia still a force in America?; The triads : the growing global threat from the Chinese criminal societies; The merger : the conglomeration of international organized crime; Guns and garlic; myths and realities of organized crime. Be patient as the page loads.

Gangsters Collection

About 120 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Gangsters.

Computer Crimes Collection

About 150 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Computer Crimes”. Some of the book titles: Cybercrime; Everything you need to know about the dangers of computer hacking; Computer forensics and cyber crime : an introduction; Avoiding cyberfraud in small businesses : what auditors and owners need to know; High-technology crime : investigating cases involving computers; Hacker attack : shield your computer from Internet crime.

Gangs Collection

About 300 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Gangs. Some of the book titles: Street gangs : gaining turf, losing ground; Encyclopedia of gangs; Gangbusters : how a street-tough, elite homicide unit took down New York’s most dangerous gang; This thing called gangs : a guide to recognizing the danger signs; Youth gangs in American society.

Stealing History: Tomb raiders, Smugglers, and the Looting of the Ancient World

Stealing History Book Cover

Atwood, Roger
St. Martin’s Press 2004        Dewey Dec.    364.1

Archaeological thefts — Peru — Sipan. The author’s “ability to bring a story dramatically to life and his keen interest in stemming the illegal antiquities trade makes this an important book for anyone interested in archeology, preservation or the potentially tangled provenance of works they love.” -Publ Wkl

Online Collections of Vintage Photos & Images of 19th Century UK

Bound by Honor; A Mafioso’s Story

Bound by Honor Book Cover

Bonanno, Bill
St. Martin’s Press 1999        Dewey Dec.    364.1

“Bonanno not only details Mob infighting and the struggles among rival East Coast Mob families; he also offers specifics concerning Mob influence on Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon as well as on other important political figures, such as J. Edgar Hoover .. . and Morris Udall. Even the Mob’s involvement in JFK’s assassination is spelled out. . . . Straightforward rather than chatty, the book paints a revealing picture of Mob family politics and government intervention.” -Booklist

Shake the Devil Off; A True Story of the Murder that Rocked New Orleans

Shake the Devil Off Book Cover

Brown, Ethan
Holt 2009        Dewey Dec.    364.1

Drawing the parallel between Katrina’s aftermath and Bowen’s unraveling psyche, Brown creates a riveting portrait of a gruesome crime while detailing the heart of a city in distress. A grim murder-suicide story delivered with skill and verve. -Kirkus

Helter Skelter; The True Story of the Manson Murders

Helter Skelter Book Cover

Bugliosi, Vincent with Gentry, Curt
Norton 1994        Dewey Dec.    364.1

“This book by the prosecutor at the Tate-LaBianca murder trial tells the inside story of the Manson Family murders, the investigations, and the trial.” -Libr J

Free online magazines about History

The Cases that Haunt Us; From Jack the Ripper to JonBenet Ramsey, the FBI’s Legendary Mindhunter Sheds Light on the Mysteries that Won’t Go Away

The Cases that Haunt Us Book Cover

Douglas, John E. and Olshaker, Mark
Pocket Books 2001        Dewey Dec.    364.1

The authors discuss “eight controversial cases that include the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the Boston Strangler, the Zodiac Killer, and the JonBenet Ramsey killing.” -Libr J.

At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America

At the Hands of Persons Unknown, the Lynching of Black America Book Cover

Dray, Philip
Random House 2002        Dewey Dec.    364.1

“Dray balances moral indignation with a sound understanding of history and politics. The result is vital, hard-hitting cultural history.” -Publ Wkly

Books on Social Services, Poverty, Welfare, Social Policy

The Corruption of American Politics; What Went Wrong and Why

The Corruption of American Politics Book Cover

Drew, Elizabeth
Overlook Press 2000        Dewey Dec.    364.1

The author argues “that the prevalence of soft money has lowered the quality of leadership in Washington. The most successful politicians are no longer the best executives or the best legislators, she says, but rather the best fund-raisers…. One of the most skillfully written, as well as insightful, looks inside the Beltway to appear in a very long time.” -Publ Wkly

How to Smell a Rat; The Five Signs of Financial Fraud

How to Smell a Rat, the Five Signs of Financial Fraud Book Cover

Fisher, Kenneth L.
Wiley 2009        Dewey Dec.    364.1

“With five straightforward rules that would have saved any investor from Bernie Madoff, . . . [Fisher] gives readers a secure plan for fraud-proof investing, worthwhile for novices and sophisticated financiers alike. . . . Much more than what to avoid, Fisher’s concise guide should be highly illuminating and confidence-building for anyone with a bank account.” -Publ Wkly

Worse than War; Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity

Worse than War, Genocide Book Cover

Goldhagen, Daniel J.
PublicAffairs 2009        Dewey Dec.    364.1

This is an investigation into the phenomenon of genocide and mass killing—explaining why genocides begin, are sustained, and end; why societies support them and why they happen so frequently; and how the international community should and can successfully stop them. The author “convincingly disparages bureaucratic ‘banality of evil’ explanations of genocide and spotlights the ideologies of leaders who exploit ordinary citizens’ hate-filled beliefs to instigate mass murder. It’s not easy reading, but Goldhagen’s vehemence and the sheer weight of horrors that he recounts move one’s conscience.” -Publ Wkly

The View from Alger’s Window; A Son’s Memoir

The View from Alger's Window, A Son's Memoir Book Cover

Hiss, Tony
Knopf 1999        Dewey Dec.    364.1

“A poignant, wonderfully written and deeply troubling memoir.” -NY Times Book Rev

Tall Man; The Death of Doomadgee

Tall Man the Death of Doomadgee Book Cover

Hooper, Chloe
Scribner 2009        Dewey Dec.    364.1

“In 2004, in a remote Aboriginal community in northern Australia, Cameron Doomadgee, a drunk young indigenous man, was arrested and, a few hours later, died in his prison cell. A witness claimed that the six-foot-seven-inch arresting officer beat Doomadgee to death. The officer claimed that Doomadgee fell accidentally and that the extent of his injuries (which included broken ribs and a ruptured liver) wasn’t apparent. Through the story of the manslaughter trial. Hooper lays bare Australia’s institutional racism and the grim conditions of Aboriginal life there. A novelist, she finds a muscular music even when confronting sordid truths.” -New Yorker

On the Courthouse Lawn; Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the Twenty-first Century

On the Courthouse Lawn, Confronting the Legacy of Lynching Book Cover

Ifill, Sherrilyn A.
Beacon 2009        Dewey Dec.    364.1

The author explores the continued effects of lynching. Ifill contends that “the lynchings implicated average white citizens, some of whom actively participated in the violence while many others witnessed the lynchings but did nothing to stop them. Ifill observes that this history of complicity has become embedded in the social and cultural fabric of local communities, who either supported, condoned, or ignored the violence. She . . . [presents] ideas to help communities heal…. Ifill argues that reconciliation and reparation efforts must also be locally based in order to bring both black and white Americans together in an efficacious dialogue.” -Publisher

Selected Articles about African American History & Racism

Hate Crime: The Story of a Dragging in Jasper, Texas

Hate Crime Book Cover

King, Joyce
Pantheon 2002        Dewey Dec.    364.1

The author “provides both objective reporting and sensitive insight into the players on both sides of America’s racial divide.” -Booklist

The Devil in the White City; Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America

The Devil in the White City Book Cover

Larson, Erik
Crown 2003        Dewey Dec.    364.1

This is an account of how “H.H. Holmes (born Herman Webster Mudgett) dispatched somewhere between 27 and 200 people, mostly single young women, in the churning new’ metropolis of Chicago; many of the murders occurred during (and exploited) the city’s finest moment, the World’s Fair of 1893. Larson’s breathtaking new history is a novelistic yet wholly factual account of the fair and the mass murderer who lurked within it.” -Publ Wkly


Thunderstruck Book Cover

Larson, Erik
Crown 2006        Dewey Dec.    364.1

This book “alternates the story of Marconi’s quest for the first wireless transatlantic communication amid scientific jealousies and controversies with the tale of [Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen,] a mild-mannered murderer caught as a result of the invention. … A thrilling read.” -SLJ

The Informant; The FBI, the Ku Klux Klan, and the Murder of Viola Liuzzo

The Informant, The FBI, the Ku Klux Klan Book Cover

May, Gary
Yale University Press 2005        Dewey Dec.    364.1

“This is popular history at its best and shines a long overdue light on a dark chapter in the FBI’s past.” -Publ Wkly

An Act of State; The Execution of Martin Luther King

An Act of State, the Execution of Martin Luther King Book Cover

Pepper, William F.
Norton 2003        Dewey Dec.    364.1

This book continues the author’s examination of the life and death of Martin Luther King Jr. “Forget everything you think you know, Pepper insists. James Earl Ray did not pull the trigger. … Pepper gradually introduces the vast cast of characters in a dizzying murder conspiracy that winds from a Memphis bar through the shadows of organized crime to the far reaches of national government. He carefully maps each player’s place and role in the tangled web and doggedly tries to stick to a straightforward narrative. . . . Pepper attempts nothing less than a rewrite of history, and a spurring of further investigation.” -Publ Wkly

Books on U.S. Legal System, U.S. Constitution, International Law, International Organizations

Crime and Justice (vol 2); The Criminal in the Arms of the Law

Crime and Justice, the Criminal in the Arms of the Law Book Cover

Radzinowicz, Leon and Wolfgang, Marvin E., comp.
Basic Books 1971        Dewey Dec.    364

Selection of writings about criminal justice.

The Historical Atlas of American Crime

The Historical Atlas of American Crime Book Cover

Rosen, Fred
Facts on File 2005        Dewey Dec.    364

“Covering all varieties of crime, from murder to fraud, from organized crime to terrorism, these pages contain a fascinating survey of the most significant criminal developments in United States history. Emphasizing cases that were the first of their kind, new types of crime, and crimes peculiar to certain regions, The Historical Atlas of American Crime demonstrates how geography, shifting populations, Western expansion, and technology have shaped crime and the development of American society.” -Publisher

Flawless; Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History

Flawless, Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History Book Cover

Selby, Scott A. and Campbell, Greg
Sterling 2010        Dewey Dec.    364.1

The authors “provide an engrossing nonfiction thriller with a truly improbable story at its center, but they also provide a colorful look at the shadowy world of the diamond trade—how they’re graded, sold, secured and stolen.” -Kirkus

The Mafia Encyclopedia: From Accardo to Zwillman

The Mafia Encyclopedia Book Cover

Sifakis, Carl
Facts on File 2010        Dewey Dec.    364.1

“Provides detailed, informed, and colorful information.” -Libr J.

Free online magazines about Men’s Interests

Blind Eye; How the Medical Establishment Let a Doctor Get Away with Murder

Blind Eye Book Cover

Stewart, James B.
Hall 2000        Dewey Dec.    364.1

This is “not only a fascinating look at a psychopath masquerading as a healer but also a disturbing expose of the system that fails to protect the public.” -Libr J

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher; A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher Book Cover

Summerscale, Kate
Walker 2008        Dewey Dec.    364.1

This is the story of Inspector Jonathan Whicher of Scotland Yard, who investigated the 1860 murder of three-year-old Francis Saville Kent in the village of Road, Wiltshire. The author’s “clean writing makes . . . [this book] so dynamic that she can’t be accused of ‘freezing’ the past—instead, she has done a masterly job of reviving it, with all its curiosities and contradictions. But, most strikingly, she has created an enthralling mystery by overlaying the fictional tools of misdirection and suspense onto a nonfiction narrative.” -Am Scholar


Criminology Book Cover

Sutherland, Edwin H. and Cressey, Donald R.
Lippincott 1974        Dewey Dec.    364

Part One: the study of Delinquency and crime — Criminology and criminal law — Indexes of delinquency and crime — Perspectives and methods — A Sociological theory of criminal behavior — Crime, delinquency, and social structure — Physical and physiological conditions — Race and nativity — Personality — Culture areas — The home and family — Social institutions — Processes in criminal behavior — Behavior systems in crime — Part Two: the processing of delinquency and crime — Variations in punitive policies — Punitive policies and social structure — Treatment of delinquents and criminals — The police — Detention before trial — The criminal court — The juvenile court — Probation — Development of treatment in American prisons — Objectives and conditions of imprisonment — The prison community — Prison labor and education — Release from prison — Prevention of crime and delinquency

Billy the Kid; A Short and Violent Life

Billy the Kid Book Cover

Utley, Robert M.
Tauris Parke 2002        Dewey Dec.    364.1

Examines the career of the young outlaw whose life and death were an expression of the violence prevalent on the American frontier. “Robert M. Utley does what countless books, movies, television shows, musical compositions, and paintings have failed to do: he successfully strips off the veneer of legendry to expose the reality of Billy the Kid.” -Univ. Press Books for Public Libr.

Public Enemies: The Host of ‘America’s Most Wanted’ Targets the Nation’s Most Notorious Criminals

Public Enemies Book Cover

Walsh, John with Lerman, Philip
Pocket 2001        Dewey Dec.    364.1

“From the media-popular ‘Railroad Killer’ to a remorseless member of the Symbionese Liberation Army with 25 years on the lam, to ’70s iconoclast Ira Einhom, who murdered his girlfriend and hid her body for 18 months in a steamer trunk, this title captures the television show’s highlights.” -Publ Wkly

Our Home page, housing three giant online collections – entirely free. Century Past History

Dark Harbor; The War for the New York Waterfront

Dark Harbor, the War on the New York Waterfront Book Cover

Ward, Nathan
Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2010        Dewey Dec.    364.1

“The author deftly marshals vast amounts of research to tell his story, including original interviews with players from the era, and he richly evokes the atmosphere of mid-century New York. A lucid, illuminating history of the epicenter of organized crime in America.” -Kirkus

Shell Games; Rogues, Smugglers, and the Hunt for Nature’s Bounty

Shell Games, Rogues, Smugglers Book Cover

Welch, Craig
William Morrow 2010        Dewey Dec.    364.1

“Welch covers the wildlife crime beat in Puget Sound, where shellfish poachers wreak havoc on the region’s once bountiful, now imperiled marine ecosystem. Writing with the sizzle of a mystery novelist, Welch portrays a complex, driven, and irresistible cast of real-life characters, from fish cops Ed Volz and Kevin Harrington to Doug Tobin, a larger-than-life Native American fisherman. . . . Welch’s utterly compelling true tale of black-market trade in endangered ocean wildlife is astounding and infuriating.” -Booklist

Crime Investigation Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Crime Investigation”. Some of the book titles: Crimebusters : how science fights crime; Organized crime in our times; Crime & detection; The Federal Bureau of Investigation; The CSI effect : television, crime, and governance; Crime science : methods of forensic detection; Criminalistics and scientific investigation.

Criminology Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Law – Criminology”. Some of the book titles: Readings in criminology and penology; Criminal justice? : the legal system versus individual responsibility; The criminal justice system : politics and policies; Community relations concepts; Law and the lawless; a reader in criminology; Your criminal justice career : a guidebook; Encyclopedia of Capital Punishment in the United States.

Law Enforcement Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Law – Law Enforcement”. Some of the book titles: Agents of change; a study in police reform; The bureau : the secret history of the FBI; Canadian police heroes : beyond the call of duty; Critical issues in law enforcement; Career opportunities in law enforcement, security, and protective services; Policing, the occupation and the introduction of female officers : an anthropologist’s study; Great jobs for criminal justice majors.

Please visit our collection of 2,000+ selected online magazine and newspaper articles on 40+ subjects, plus online historical maps & vintage photo collections, at Century Past History Resources

Encyclopedia of Forensic Science

Encyclopedia of Forensic Science Book Cover

Bell, Suzanne
Facts on File 2004        Dewey Dec.    363.2

“In addition to explaining the science of forensics, Bell … reviews various disciplines related to forensic science, among them entomology, odontology, and psychology. Other entries cover professional organizations, government agencies, famous names in the field, evidence, and legal issues.” -Booklist

Forensic Science: An Illustrated Dictionary

Forensic Science An Illustrated Dictionary Book Cover

Brenner, John C.
CRC 2004        Dewey Dec.    363.2

Over 2,000 words and terms. “A quick reference for forensic scientists and a good source of information for armchair enthusiasts.” -Choice

Blood Secrets: A Forensic Expert Reveals how Blood Spatter Tells the Crime Scene’s Story

Blood Secrets Book Cover

Englert, Rod and Passero, Kathy
Dunne 2010        Dewey Dec.    363.2

“Englert deftly balances real-life examples and detailed scientific analysis, giving readers a richer understanding of this developing avenue of forensic science.” -Pub Wkly

Introduction to Criminal Investigation: Processes, Practices and Thinking

Gehl, Rod, Plecas, Darryl
Bccampus 2017       

“A teaching text designed to assist the student in developing their own structured mental map of processes, practices, and thinking to conduct criminal investigations.” -Open Textbook Library Website

So Others Might Live: A History of New York’s Bravest; the FDNY from 1700 to the Present

So Others Might Live Book Cover

Golway, Terry
Basic 2002        Dewey Dec.    363.3

“The author describes the New York City Fire Department’s emergence from amateur bucket brigades into the beginnings of a specialized force and up to the present, never letting a memorable figure or vivid moment escape his narrative.” -Libr J.

The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI

The Bureau the Secret History of the FBI Book Cover

Kessler, Ronald
St. Martin’s 2002        Dewey Dec.    363.2

“Kessler focuses on the agents who have made its cases and the directors who have run the bureau, from Hoover through Louis Freeh and Robert Mueller. In doing so, he probes the relationship between the FBI and American presidents, and the tension that exists between a free society and what amounts to a national police force. … ‘The Bureau’ tells the richly detailed story of a uniquely powerful institution, its profound impact on American society, and how it has changed since September 11.” -Publisher

Fire and ashes: On the Front Lines of American Wildfire

Fire and Ashes Book Cover

MacLean, John N.
Holt 2003        Dewey Dec.    363.3

“This work tells of two infernos: a 1999 conflagration in Nevada and a 1953 case of arboreal arson in California that took 15 lives … Careful in analysis, MacLean turns visceral when imparting the sudden terror of life-ending flames … ” -Booklist

True Stories of C.S.I.: The Real Crimes Behind the Best Episodes of the Popular TV Show

True Stories of CSI Book Cover

Ramsland, Katherine M.
Berkley Boulevard 2008        Dewey Dec.    363.2

“Renowned forensic specialist Katherine Ramsland revisits some of the most absorbing episodes of the phenomenally popular C.S.I. television franchise, and explores the real-life crimes that inspired them. She also looks into the authenticity of the forensic investigations re-created for the show, and the painstaking forensic process employed in every one of the actual cases…” – Publisher

The Science of Sherlock Holmes: from Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear, the Real Forensics Behind the Great Detective’s Greatest Cases

The Science of Sherlock Holmes Book Cover

Wagner, E. J.
Wiley 2006        Dewey Dec.    363.2

The author discusses forensic science in Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories of the ‘consulting detective’ Sherlock Holmes. He compares Holmes’s investigative techniques to those used in actual cases such as the killing of Lizzie Borden’s parents in 1892, the 1902 murder of Joseph Browne Elwell, and the disappearance of Dr. George Parkman in 1849. This book “will intrigue readers with incredible stories and amazing tales from the early days of forensic science.” -Christ Sci Mon

Criminal Law Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Law – Criminal Law”. Be patient as the page loads.

Criminal Justice Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Criminal Justice”. Some of the book titles: Counseling criminal justice offenders; Criminal justice in Canada; Criminal and social justice; Criminal justice in America; Youth criminal justice law; Careers in criminal justice; The psychology of criminal justice.

Administration of Justice Collection

About 800 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Administration of Justice.
Be patient while the page loads.

Administration of Criminal Justice Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Law – Administration of Criminal Justice”. Some of the book titles: Justice in jeopardy; strategy to revitalize the American dream; Administration of justice in India : a case study of Punjab; Study guide to Criminal justice organizations : administration and management; The administration and management of criminal justice organizations : a book of readings; Criminal justice in Indiana; Making it right : a common sense approach to criminal justice; Administration of justice in Norway : a brief summary.

Prisons Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Prisons”. Some of the book titles: Con game : the truth about Canada’s prisons; Prison life in America; Diary of a self-made convict; Penology: a realistic approach; Notorious prisons : an inside look at the world’s most feared institutions.

Prisoners Collection

Nearly 1,300 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Prisoners.

Be patient while the page loads.

Capital Punishment Collection

About 150 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Capital Punishment.

In the Belly of the Beast; Letters from Prison

In the Belly of the Beast, Letters from Prison Book Cover

Abbott, Jack H.
Random House 1981        Dewey Dec.    365

Abbott’s “letters belong with the best prison literature, not because of their accounts of atrocity, but for their disturbing picture of daily life behind bars.” -Time

Free online Newspaper Archives

Gulag; a History

Gulag, A History Book Cover

Applebaum, Anne
Doubleday 2003        Dewey Dec.    365

This “describes how, largely under Stalin’s watch, a regulated, centralized system of prison labor—unprecedented in scope—gradually arose out of the chaos of the Russian Revolution. . . . Applebaum details camp life, including strategies for survival; the experiences of women and children in the camps; sexual relationships and marriages between prisoners; and rebellions, strikes and escapes. . . .Applebaum’s lucid prose and painstaking consideration of the competing theories about aspects of camp life and policy are always compelling.” -Publ Wkly

Selected Articles on Capital Punishment

Selected Articles on Capital Punishment Book Cover

Fanning, C. E., comp.
H. W. Wilson 1917        Dewey Dec.    364.6

In the first decades of the 20th century publisher H.W. Wilson produced many volumes in its Debaters’ Handbook Series on social and political issues that were under discussion at the time. Each book contains the full text of selected articles and documents representing opposing views on the issue, along with a substantial bibliography of books and articles.

Most of the books mentioned in these guides are likely to be freely available online. Search by title; first at the Internet Archive (, then at Referenced magazine articles may also be available online at the same sites, with HathiTrust the preferred site for magazines.

Capital Punishment

Capital Punishment, Library in a Book Book Cover

Henderson, Harry, ed.
Facts on File 2006        Dewey Dec.    364.6

A look at both sides of this controversial issue from social, political, ethical, and religious perspectives. Includes a glossary, bibliographies, and Internet sources.

Encyclopedia of American Prisons

Encyclopedia of American Prisons Book Cover

McShane, Marilyn D. and Williams, Frank P. III
Garland 1996        Dewey Dec.    365

This encyclopedia “traces the history and development of the major prisons in the United States and provides an overview of prison issues such as convicts with AIDS, prisoners’ rights, and juveniles behind bars.” -Libr J

Worse than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice

Worse than Slavery, Parchman Farm, and Jim Crow Justice Book Cover

Oshinsky, David M.
Free Press 1996        Dewey Dec.    365

“Oshinsky’s beautifully constructed narrative brings to vivid life one of the most shameful chapters in American history.” -New Yorker

The Last Face You’ll Ever See; The Private Life of the American Death Penalty

The Last Face You'll Ever See, the Culture of Death Row Book Cover

Solotaroff, Ivan
NY: HarperCollins 2001        Dewey Dec.    364.6

“Entertainingly written, well researched and documented, this is important reading for death-penalty activists, pro and con, and other concerned citizens.” -Booklist

Inside Rikers; Stories from the World’s Largest Penal Colony

Inside Rikers, Stories from the World's Largest Penal Colony Book Cover

Wynn, Jennifer
St. Martin’s Press 2001        Dewey Dec.    365

“Wynn’s study is ultimately a call for much-needed prison reform, with emphasis on rehabilitation rather than mere incarceration, and she makes her case well.” -Booklist


Terrorism Collection

About 3,500 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Terrorism”. Be patient as the page loads.

Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe

Nuclear Terrorism Book Cover

Allison, Graham T.
Times 2004        Dewey Dec.    363.3

“Allison’s comprehensive but accessible treatment of this vital subject is a major contribution to public understanding.” -NY Times Book Rev

Historical Dictionary of Terrorism

Historical Dictionary of Terrorism Book Cover

Anderson, Sean and Sloand, Stephen
Scarecrow 1995        Dewey Dec.    363.3

“Encompasses individuals, groups, events, doctrines, and concepts such as Power law, which is the mathematical relation between the numbers and intensity of events… This is an accurate, objective, and clearly written resource that will be useful in public and academic libraries.” -Booklist

Encyclopedia of Terrorism

Encyclopedia of Terrorism Book Cover

Combs, Cindy C. and Slann, Martin W.
Facts on File 2002        Dewey Dec.    363.3

Provides articles on the events, people, organizations and places that have played a major role in international terrorism.

Selected Articles on Events & Issues in the 21st Century

Terrorism: A Documentary and Reference Guide

Terrorism a Documentary and Reference Guide Book Cover

Burns, Vincent and Peterson, Kate Dempsey
Greenwood 2005        Dewey Dec.    363.3

“A volume of 70 documents pertaining to terrorism and the U.S. Readings include speeches, policy statements, letters, reports and laws. An easy-to-use resource that is full of pertinent information …” -Choice

Report from Ground Zero: The Story of the Rescue Efforts at the World Trade Center

Report from Ground Zero Book Cover

Smith, Dennis
Thorndike 2002        Dewey Dec.    363.3

Smith, a retired firefighter who served in the NYC Fire Dept., “tells the story of the weeks that followed [the Sept 11 bombing of the World Trade Center] with the empathy and understanding that only an insider could bring to it. Here is his dramatic narrative … with astonishing first-person testimony from the rescuers who were present as the towers were attacked, evacuated, then fell.” -Publisher

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