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Dr. Werthless: The Man Who Studied Murder (And Nearly Killed the Comics Industry) examines one of the most polarizing figures in pop culture: Dr. Frederic Wertham. Reviled by comic book fans as a witch-hunting zealot who stirred up panic among the parents of America for his own self-promoting purposes, he was also a renowned psychiatrist who, among other accomplishments, opened a clinic in Harlem for disadvantaged African-American patients and played an important role in the desegregation of the nation’s schools. Believing that murder could be abolished through a proper understanding of the mental and social roots of criminal violence, he took a genuinely humane approach to some of the most notorious homicidal maniacs of his time. Among these was the monstrous Albert Fish, whose relationship with Wertham forms a key section of Schechter and Powell’s book, epitomizing the renowned psychiatrist’s deep contradictions: his enlightened efforts to shed light on the most depraved aspects of human behavior and his willingness to exploit his subjects’ lurid cases histories for his own commercial ends.