The Death Instinct

By Jed Rubenfeld
(Riverhead Books, Paperback, 9781594485602, 576pp.)

Publication Date: January 3, 2012

List Price: $16.00*
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From the international bestselling author-"a sprawling and ambitious literary mystery" ("The Seattle Times").

From a true and shocking event-the bombing of lower Manhattan in September 1920-Jed Rubenfeld weaves a twisting and thrilling work of fiction as a physician, a female radiochemist, and a police official come to believe that the inexplicable attack is only part of a larger plan. It's a conspiracy that takes them from Paris to Prague, from the Vienna home of Sigmund Freud to the corridors of power in Washington, D.C., and ultimately to the depths of our most savage human instincts where there lies the shocking truth behind that fateful day.

About the Author
Currently a professor of law at Yale University, Jed Rubenfeld is one of this country's foremost experts on constitutional law. He wrote his Princeton undergraduate thesis on Sigmund Freud and studied Shakespeare at Julliard. He is the author of "The Interpretation of Murder". He lives in Connecticut.

Conversation Starters from


  1. The September 16, 1920, explosion on Wall Street is to this day an unsolved incident. Discuss the explosion, the book’s explanation for the event, and its resonance and parallels—both actual and fictionalized—with the events of September 11, 2001.

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