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The Mysterious Death of Jane Stanford Hardcover – July 11, 2003

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The Mysterious Death of Jane Stanford + Poisoned Palms: The Murder of Mrs. Jane Lathrop Stanford + The story of a good woman, Jane Lathrop Stanford
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The Mysterious Death of Jane Stanford is a well researched, fascinating read. Cutler makes a strong case for rethinking the official cause given for Jane Stanford's death—heart disease. Cutler shows why physicians of the time were convinced by their diagnosis, how the coroner reached his verdict, and when the local detectives dropped their pursuit of the possible suspect. And he persuasively argues that they were all wrong." —Boyd G. Stephens, M.D., Chief Medical Examiner, San Francisco


"The Mysterious Death of Jane Stanford, a graceful little hardcover that many say lays out the facts of the poisoning—and the subsequent spin-job—with such medical expertise and detail as to be irrefutable."
—Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times

From the Inside Flap

Jane Stanford, the co-founder of Stanford University, died in Honolulu in 1905, shortly after surviving strychnine poisoning in San Francisco. The inquest testimony of the physicians who attended her death in Hawaii led to a coroner’s jury verdict of murder—by strychnine poisoning. Stanford University President David Starr Jordan promptly issued a press release claiming that Mrs. Stanford had died of heart disease, a claim that he supported by challenging the skills and judgment of the Honolulu physicians and toxicologist. Jordan’s diagnosis was largely accepted and promulgated in many subsequent historical accounts.
In this book, the author reviews the medical reports in detail to refute Dr. Jordan’s claim and to show that Mrs. Stanford indeed died of strychnine poisoning. His research reveals that the professionals who were denounced by Dr. Jordan enjoyed honorable and distinguished careers. He concludes that Dr. Jordan went to great lengths, over a period of nearly two decades, to cover up the real circumstances of Mrs. Stanford’s death.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford General Books; 1 edition (July 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804747938
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804747936
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #530,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on April 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
True crime aficionados will enjoy reading this book, and it will also appeal to graduates of Stanford University and those interested in turn of the century Honolulu, where the putative murder took place. It's an interesting locale, situated at the juncture of violated native sovereignty and a new, tourism-based economy.
The author is dry to the extreme, and again and again nobly resists the opportunity to speculate (i.e., fictionalize) the details of his complex story. He makes it clear whom he suspects, and it's a terrible story indeed. And to think that for a hundred years Jane Stanford has been commonly thought of as dying by accident. Accident--no~-far from it--this was cold blooded murder!
A classic case of who-done-it and who covered it up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stanford Safari on September 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
As a Stanford student who has spent more than a year around the romantic tales of Jane and Leland Sr. founding a university for "the children of California," I appreciated this book because it uncovers truths about a side of Stanford history that most people don't remember.

Almost no one knows that Jane Stanford died under mysterious circumstances, and this book is courageous in its attempt to pull together all the evidence and folklore surrounding Jane's death. It is well sculpted and tells the story from beginning to finish, without omitting a single relevant detail.

Though that is fantastic, it also makes what was meant to be an easy read, a much more difficult one. Moreover, if one wasn't familiar with the legal process at the time of Jane's death, the book is a little hard to follow because you don't know what things are relevant when. There is also a significant amount of legal jargon in the book, and it doesn't clearly delineate between the speculations of many experts and the actual court proceedings. Moreover, the number of experts involved gets somewhat mind-boggling, as it is difficult to associate each testimony with a specific name.

Other than some basic organization and lack of adequate explanation for technical terms, the book really is a great source of information. If you are curious about the subject, I recommend it wholeheartedly. As far as just a book to read for entertainment, it might be up your alley, but only if you are familiar with legal jargon or don't mind learning it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stanford Student on September 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book based on the death of Jane Stanford, an event that not too many people are aware of. Since the topic is interesting and full of mystery, the book is also interesting.

This book is largely factual, designed to give the evidence and leave the conclusions up to the reader. That being said, it continuously made me question what the truth was since it gave so many different accounts and perspectives. This could also be a bit overwhelming at times to the point of becoming a little dry. There is much medical, legal, and statistical talk that is definitely important in understanding all the aspects of the case but could probably be written better. I found my eyes glazing over the pages occasionally, and my mind would suddenly perk up once some new evidence or a new theory came into light.

If you're interested in the history of Stanford or you're just craving a real-life murder mystery novel, then give this book a read.
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Format: Hardcover
I truly enjoyed this book. It presented clear, well-researched arguments, backed up by sold evidence. It was also very easy to read; it could easily have been dry, but the author's writing style made it quite enjoyable. I especially loved the bits about the Stanford's thrown in here and there, like the anecdote of how they introduced Leland Jr. to their friends. I enjoyed the book so much that, while I was reading it, I constantly relayed facts I had learned from it to my family and friends, much to their interest (which turned to slight annoyance after about the 50th time)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a good accounting of the somewhat mysterious events surrounding the death of Mrs. Stanford. It could be better written.
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