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Many sources went into the writing of this book. The crime story owes a particular debt to David Simon’s masterpiece, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets.

Journalists have drawn increasing attention to the prevalence of false confessions in the American justice system. Book-length accounts of individual cases include Wells and Leo, The Wrong Guys, and Robert Mayer’s The Dreams of Ada. John Grisham also visits the Oklahoma town of Ada to cover another controversial case in The Innocent Man.

Richard A. Leo, a law professor, delivers an academic inquiry into police-induced false confessions in Police Interrogation and American Justice. Rob Warden and Steven A. Drizin anthologize such cases in True Stories of False Confessions.

If you wonder what a real police interrogation might be like—or you worry that your lifestyle might lead you to the “interview” room one day—then you’d do well to read a standard handbook for police interrogators such as Inbau et al., Criminal Interrogations and Confessions.

The description of erotomania in chapter 16 is from J. Reid Meloy, Violent Attachments. In “DNA on Trial” (The New Yorker, January 17, 2000), Peter J. Boyer recounts the unusual case (mentioned in chapter 18) of Kerry Kotler, who was first exonerated and then later, in an entirely separate matter, convicted of rape—both times on DNA evidence.

The double murder in chapter 31 recalls the case of Stuart McKellar Cameron, who in July 2000 entered the Toronto apartment of two Chinese girls, both visiting students from Taiwan. He stabbed to death eighteen-year-old Tina Wu and gravely wounded her sister Theresa, then fourteen.

In The Aquariums of Pyongyang, Kang Chol-hwan describes his family’s ordeal, including years of imprisonment, after North Korean leader Kim Il-sung’s propaganda campaign lured them to North Korea from Japan. He defected in 1992.

Barbara Demick has written on the plight of average North Korean citizens for The New Yorker and in Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea. For a guide to the nature and origins of North Korea’s personality cult, see B.R. Myers, The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters.

Other writers on North Korea include Bradley K. Martin, Andrei Lankov, Hyok Kang, Soon Ok Lee, and Blaine Harden, a Washington Post reporter, who wrote Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West. Accounts of North Korea tend to be unremittingly grim; an exception is Robert Egan’s Eating with the Enemy: How I Waged Peace with North Korea from My BBQ Shack in Hackensack.

In The Perfect Heresy: The Revolutionary Life and Death of the Medieval Cathars, Stephen O’Shea chronicles the fate of the Cathar sect, including the notorious massacre at Béziers mentioned in chapter 38.

The essays “A Short History of the Self” and “Seek, and You Will Find” appear courtesy of David Allan. The former draws mainly on the work of David Healy, author of The Creation of Psychopharmacology and The Antidepressant Era. Other sources include Peter Kramer’s Listening to Prozac, Edward Shorter’s A History of Psychiatry, and Robert Whitaker’s Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America.

The accounts of the Battle of Stalingrad in the essay “Seek, and You Will Find” are from Antony Beevor’s Stalingrad. The quotation from the mathematician Carl Gauss appears in The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes, who held that language evolved ahead of consciousness.

A more clinical term for the “hidden self”—that part of our minds that is invisible to consciousness yet performs powerful functions of reasoning, judgment, and behavioral control—is “system one” (see Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow). Others use the term the “adaptive unconscious,” as in Timothy Wilson’s Strangers to Ourselves.

As researchers Banaji and Greenwald note in their book Blindspot, “A quarter century ago, most psychologists believed that human behavior was primarily guided by conscious thoughts and feelings. Nowadays the majority will readily agree that much of human judgment and behavior is produced with little conscious thought.” They add, “It is hard for human beings, endowed with the capacity for conscious thought, to accept that beliefs and preferences that so define us can be shaped by forces outside our awareness.”

Whereas the events of the novel take place in 2000 and earlier, the quotes from Steve Jobs are from a commencement address he gave at Stanford University in 2005. The reader will kindly forgive this temporal incongruity.