‘Berserking Dreams’ explores the traditional mass murderer


Mass murderers are known throughout history as “berserkers.” They enter a trance-like state to create their mayhem. Sociologist/criminologist Michael Stuart risks life and limb running a berserker to ground in the Philippines in the 1960s.

“Mass murder, like all social behavior, stems from a combination of the effects of the social environment and the character of the person. A criminologist is trained to trace out these routes to crimes like mass murder,” said the author.

Brian C. Aldrich is Emeritus Professor of sociology/criminal justice at Winona State University. He taught sociology classes there from 1976 through 2015. He did his doctoral dissertation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His novels are informed by research and writing on housing for refugees and the poor in traditional societies. It brought him in contact with the more traditional social thinking about problems like mass murder. He lives with his wife, Lynn, and their oldest son, Robert, in Winona.

“Berserking Dreams” is the backstory on how Michael Stuart got started in the field of behavioral forensics. The main character joins the Peace Corps as it’s just getting started under then-President Kennedy. He is only a few years into a college degree in sociology/criminology when he is requested to assist the local chief of police in an island city off the coast of Mindanao in the southern Philippines. A Danish plantation owner’s son has been murdered and Stuart agrees to help them find the killer. Stuart and his fellow PC volunteer become targets of the killer and he has to thread his way through patterns of traditional society to bring the berserker to justice.


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