Mann, Robert W. 1949–

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Mann, Robert W. 1949–

PERSONAL:

Born 1949. Education: University of Hawaii, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES:

Home—HI.

CAREER:

Central Identification Laboratory, Deputy Scientific Director, c. 1994—. Is a certified diplomat of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, and has worked with the Smithsonian Institute.

WRITINGS:

(With Sean P. Murphy) Regional Atlas of Bone Disease: A Guide to Pathologic and Normal Variation in the Human Skeleton, Thomas (Springfield, IL), 1990, 2nd edition, with David R. Hunt, published as Photographic Regional Atlas of Bone Disease: A Guide to Pathologic and Normal Variation in the Human Skeleton, 2005.

(With Miryam Ehrlich Williamson) Forensic Detective: How I Cracked the World's Toughest Cases, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

Born in 1949, Robert W. Mann became one of the leaders in the field of forensic anthropology. Mann earned his Ph.D. in physical anthropology from the University of Hawaii and then joined the Central Identification Laboratory (CIL) as deputy scientific director in the mid-1990s. The CIL is the world's largest forensics laboratory. Mann has excelled in his field of expertise; he is one of only seventy-three certified diplomats of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. Through his career, Mann has also worked with the Smithsonian Institute and has traveled to countries such as Cambodia, Hanoi, and Latvia, working in search-and-recovery missions and identifying remains believed to be those of American soldiers missing in action. Furthermore, Mann is the coauthor of two books. The first, Regional Atlas of Bone Disease: A Guide to Pathologic and Normal Variation in the Human Skeleton, was written with Sean P. Murphy and was published in 1990. Mann updated the book with David R. Hunt in 2005, and the second edition was published as Photographic Regional Atlas of Bone Disease: A Guide to Pathologic and Normal Variation in the Human Skeleton. Mann's second book, Forensic Detective: How I Cracked the World's Toughest Cases, was written with Miryam Ehrlich Williamson and published in 2006.

The highly academic Photographic Regional Atlas of Bone Disease is a discussion of skeletal paleopathology. Paleopathology is the study of old diseases, and skeletal paleopathologists study bones to determine what diseases were present in the once-living animal. The book includes many illustrations and discusses bone fungus, fractures, and tumors, among other illnesses and anomalies of bone structure. The volume is divided into sections based on areas of skeletal anatomy, such as the pelvis, ribs, and skull; the book is literally ordered from tip to toe of the human body. Photographic Regional Atlas of Bone Disease not only addresses the history of various bone diseases but also gives in-depth descriptions and attributes each illness to a specific region of origin or concentration. Reviews of the book were predominantly positive, and C.C. Thomas, writing in SciTech Book News, commented that there are "several new cases in this edition." While noting that the volume focuses upon "methods of description and the meaning of osteological terminology in order to ensure that the correct terms are used during recording," Medical History critic Tania Kausmally stated: "As a fundamental overview of the skeleton, Mann and Hunt's book should be available to all novice osteologists. It is certainly a work I wish had been available to me during my university degree and primary years in the field as an osteoarchaeologist."

In Forensic Detective, Mann gives an overview of the cases he has worked on, including his work assembling the scattered skeletal remains of the victims of infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Mann also writes about his work overseas in identifying American soldiers' remains. One case presented in the book is that of a disembodied human leg found in a bay, replete with the tooth marks of a shark. Mann must then determine whether the bites were administered pre- or post-mortem. A substantial index is included in the volume. "Fans of CSI and true crime will be engrossed," stated Booklist writer Kristine Huntley. Furthermore, a Trashotron.com critic stated that the book "is a lot more of a class act than you might expect from the lurid, in-your-face packaging" on the book's cover. "If you're looking for true stories of forensic detection, here they are," the critic continued. "The episodic structure even lends itself to being picked up and put down, which in this case is quite helpful. Reading this sort of thing straight through, it's going to either give you nightmares—or ideas."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Mann, Robert W., and Miryam Ehrlich Williamson, Forensic Detective: How I Cracked the World's Toughest Cases, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2006.

PERIODICALS

American Journal of Physical Anthropology, April 1, 1991, Madeleine J. Hinkes, review of Regional Atlas of Bone Disease: A Guide to Pathologic and Normal Variation in the Human Skeleton, p. 497.

Booklist, March 15, 2006, Kristine Huntley, review of Forensic Detective: How I Cracked the World's Toughest Cases, p. 13.

Medical History, July 1, 2007, Tania Kausmally, review of Photographic Regional Atlas of Bone Disease: A Guide to Pathologic and Normal Variation in the Human Skeleton, p. 409.

Publishers Weekly, January 23, 2006, review of Forensic Detective, p. 202.

SciTech Book News, June, 2005, C.C. Thomas, review of Photographic Regional Atlas of Bone Disease.

ONLINE

Trashotron.com,http://trashotron.com/ (June 15, 2008), review of Forensic Detective.