The Strange Case of the Mad Professor by Peter Kobel
A True Tale of Endangered Species, Illegal Drugs, and Attempted Murder

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A well-researched, clearly written biography of a strange character.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

It was one of the biggest scandals in New York University history. Professor John Buettner-Janusch, chair of the Anthropology Department, was convicted of manufacturing LSD and Quaaludes in his campus laboratory. He claimed the drugs were for an animal behavior experiment, but the jury found otherwise. B-J, as he was known, served two years in prison before being paroled, emerging to find his life and career in shambles. Four years later, he sought revenge by trying to kill the sentencing judge and others with poisoned Valentine’s Day chocolates. After pleading guilty to attempted murder, he was sentenced to twenty years in prison, where he died in mysterious circumstances.

But before he was infamous at NYU, B-J, a scientific luminary, had also taught at Yale and Duke. One of the world’s foremost authorities on lemurs, our distant primate relatives on the remote island of Madagascar, he brought international attention to these endearing and endangered creatures. He cofounded the Duke Lemur Center in North Carolina and inspired a whole generation of scientists to study them and conservationists to save them and their habitat. His trials captured national headlines, but the mad scientist’s full story has never been told—until now.

 

About Peter Kobel

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Peter Kobel has worked as an editor at Entertainment Weekly, Saveur, ARTnews, and Premiere and has written for the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and many other publications. The author of the critically acclaimed Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture, he now writes about environmental and conservation issues and lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.
 
Published July 2, 2013 by Lyons Press. 288 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Crime, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Strange Case of the Mad Professor
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Good
on May 05 2013

A well-researched, clearly written biography of a strange character.

Read Full Review of The Strange Case of the Mad P... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Good
on May 20 2013

Ending with the disgraced scientist’s 1992 demise—behind bars—and an informed epilogue on lemurs, Kobel expertly wraps up this bizarre true crime tale.

Read Full Review of The Strange Case of the Mad P... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

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