This landmark study offers a rogues’ gallery of women—from the Colonial Era to the 20th century—who answered abuse and oppression with murder: “A classic” (Gloria Steinem).
Women rarely resort to murder. But when they do, they are likely to kill their intimates: husbands, lovers, or children. In Women Who Kill, journalist Ann Jones explores these homicidal patters and what they reflect about women and our culture. She considers notorious cases such as axe-murderer Lizzie Borden, acquitted of killing her parents; Belle Gunness, the Indiana housewife turned serial killer; Ruth Snyder, the “adulteress” electrocuted for murdering her husband; and Jean Harris, convicted of shooting her lover, the famous “Scarsdale Diet doctor.”
Looking beyond sensationalized figures, Jones uncovers different trends of female criminality through American history—trends that reveal the evolving forms of oppression and abuse in our culture. From the prevalence of infanticide in colonial days to the poisoning of husbands in the nineteenth century and the battered wives who fight back today, Jones recounts the tales of dozens of women whose stories, and reasons, would otherwise be lost to history.
First published in 1980, Women Who Kill is a “provocative book” that “reminds us again that women are entitled to their rage.” This 30th anniversary edition from Feminist Press includes a new introduction by the author (New York Times Book Review).