Hyperion, 2002 (2001)
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Reviewed by Angela Landreth
ost judicial systems today use the science of fingerprinting to identify and capture criminals as a matter of routine. It astonished me to find out that something we accept as absolute was only put to use in the last century. The earlier scientists of criminal forensics were not only doubted, but were considered to be
, and the first use of fingerprints as evidence only occurred in 1905.
cience is usually deemed to be cold and sterile. However, the process of bringing fingerprinting into use is filled with conflicts of ego and elitism. This history of the evolution of fingerprinting for criminal prosecution unfolds like a human drama in a movie or television show. The impetus was the need for officials to be able to identify repeat offenders, and a Scottish missionary in Japan, Henry Faulds, made the first publications advocating the recording of loops and whorls on our fingers for unique identification.
, Colin Beavan displays the painstaking efforts of nineteenth century scientists to bring fingerprinting into acceptance as an important tool of police work (it is especially interesting that Scotland Yard was not an early innovator in the field). Those intrigued by police procedures, mysteries, and dramas involving forensic science will find this book engaging and informative.
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