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Lizzie Borden Took an Axe, or Did She? a Rhetorical Inquiry

2.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1934844014
ISBN-10: 1934844012
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Teneo Press (June 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934844012
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934844014
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,769,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Lizzie Borden Took an Axe or did She?, is a very informative book. The author gives a lot of information that I never knew. She makes you think about all of the characters that are present at the time of the murders, and those that had been in the house just before the murders. The author raises questions that I have wondered about when I heard the story years ago. After reading this book I do not believe Lizzie did the crime. Worth the read. Leela
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From the point of view of Borden researchers, the meat of the book consists of five essays previously published in The Hatchet or the Lizzie Borden Quarterly. Dr. Holba has cleverly packaged these as a college textbook designed to teach students to use critical thinking skills to analyze narratives of all kinds. Lizzie Borden's story is a good choice for this: it has blood, mystery, murder, and hints of unsavory sex; it's a story that almost everybody has heard about but whose facts and folklore are widely divergent; there is a great deal of written evidence from the time and a number of retellings.

The Lizzie researcher who isn't interested in critical theory is unlikely to find anything new here.

The Lizzie researcher who is interested in narratives qua narratives will wonder why there isn't a chapter explaining Lizzie's lifelong notoriety in terms of Michel Foucault's carceral continuum.
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I met Annette Holba online as a result of her interest in attending the now cancelled "Lizzie Borden Conference 2008' although I had been familiar with her writing for several years. As Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Plymouth State University, New Hampshire, she also holds a B.A. in Law & Justice Studies from Rowan University, an M.A. in Liberal Studies from Rutgers, and obtained her Ph.D. in Rhetoric from Duquesne University. Published in a number of Journals, including The Lizzie Borden Quarterly, The Hatchet, World Leisure Journal, Journal of Social and Natural Philosophy, Pennyslvania Speech Communication Annual, New Hampshire Journal of Education, and Florida Communication Journal among others, I have found her to be the most "cerebral" of all Lizzie authors. Why? Because my pea brain can hardly follow some of her writing, that's why.

In this book, Annette employs Kenneth Burke's rhetorical theory as a means to look "through the lens" to gain a better understanding of the Borden case - "one that might shatter the myth of Lizzie Borden's guilt." Actually, what Holba does is draw from several previously published writings which makes up the majority of this 170 page book.

The book begins "easy reading" enough in its Introduction of "The Cast, The Facts, The Story", although the first of 17 errors in those 10 pages begins with the second sentence stating that Andrew Borden was "one of the wealthiest individuals in Fall River at that time." He was not. Not even close to some of the Braytons, Remingtons and other Bordens, not to mention E. P. Charlton. But still its a good overview and the 17 errors in 10 pages are mostly minor and derived from the perpetual misinformation from other published books. Corrective action? Two words: Source Documents.
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Format: Paperback
This story is dedicated to the ace typewriter mechanic Martin Tytell, who built a duplicate typewriter when the experts said it couldn't be done.

Perry Bricker was reading his legal journal when his secretary Della Lane opened the door to his office. "Chief, there's a young woman here to see you about a problem." "Show her in, Della." "Hello Mr. Bricker, my name is Lizzie Berdan and my parents were really sick last night. I think our milk was poisoned by an enemy of my father." Perry knew about Andrew Jackson Berdan, a self-made man famous for his avariciousness. "You must not be buying Borden Dairy Milk" said Perry. "No" said Miss Lizzie. "Father used his position at the bank to award a supply contract to Farmer Gray and now he gets his milk at a special rate." Perry said he would use his detective Paul Gander to investigate.

The next day a telephone call brought news about the murder of Andrew and his second wife Abby. The only two people known to be in the house, Lizzie and the maid Bridget, were the chief suspects. Bridget was soon cleared, she was outside at the time of Abby's murder. Paul Gander reported that his operative talked to Bridget, who told of an unexpected visit from Uncle John the day before. Lizzie and Uncle John spoke in a low voice when Bridget was near, this was unusual. The house was searched from top to bottom but no bloody axe was found, nor any blood-stained clothes. When Lizzie was arrested Perry visited her in jail. "Is there anything new to tell me?" asked Perry. "Mr. Bricker, I didn't tell you about my cousin William. He had a debt that was coming due and was supposed to see father. William has a terrible temper and was once sent to a hospital. I want William's name kept out of this for family reasons. I am innocent of committing this crime.
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Format: Paperback
I was really disapointed in this book. "Did she or didn't she" was never aproached through facts or even new theories. Just highbrow gibberish and feelings. What a waist of a great title!
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