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Women Who Kill


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: The Feminist Press at CUNY (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558616071
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558616073
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,185,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Author of Kabul in Winter, Ann Jones is a journalist and activist for women's rights around the globe. Her travel essays and photographs have appeared in the Nation, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Boston Globe. She is currently working on Women, War and Photography, a book documenting the daily lives of women in post-conflict war zones.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 28 people found the following review helpful By ginmar on January 11, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Usually, when people write about the crimes that women commit, it's a complicated dance of omission and deception. A recent article in Newsweek magazine illustrated this approach: arrests of violent girls were up 125%, it said. The article never gave the raw number for arrests, however, nor did it define the circumstanes of those arrests, or place them in context. Most critically, it did not place those arrests up against the figures for male violence. Women commit approximately ten to fifteen percent of all violent crimes, yet in fact they are subject to an almost all-male law enforcement and judicial system which is inhabited by conservative males who judge them harshly. Jones explores the context for these judgements, and points out that women are routinely judged twice: as criminals, and then as that mythical creature, Woman, who's sugar and spice if s he knows what's good for her. Thus, while men kill their children to get revenge on escaped spouses, women tend to kill in self defense or because of mental illness. The merciless response to Andrea Yates---rendered psychotic by too much childbearing, too much stress, and the indifference of her breeder-mad fundie hubbbie, is prefigured in this book by the case of the Irish epilectic maid who killed her mistress clumsily while in the midst of an attack and received no mercy whatsoever.

Similarly, in the chapter dealing with despoiled maidens, the author makes the critical point that by letting some women get away with murdering men who had 'seduced' and abandoned them, society was upholding the status quo. Women did not have the vote and yet were punished by the very people who held them powerless and wanted to keep them that way.
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28 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Paul Millar on November 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is a fascinating study of female killers. While the author makes several empirically false statements about female crime (for example, "women get heavier sentences than men", p. 9) she does provide us with an entertaining selection of crime and punishment involving women murderers. From brutal serial killers like Belle Gunness, whose crimes "speak powerfully to the vengeful, man-hating part of every woman" (p.138) to the stories of battered women who kill, Jones offers up a feast of delciously detailed murder in all its glory. Jones illustrates how race and class as well as gender affect how we view crime. This book shows how society's view of women has affected both the prosecution and sentencing of women who kill.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. Melchiondo on August 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Women continue to be denied and discriminated against receiving equal justice. Women who do so called "male" crimes lack the support and compassion that they deserve. Women are too often denied commutation in Pennsylvania. Peachie Wiggins, died on March 24, 2013. She died having applied for commutation 12 times and on the potential cusp of freedom as her mandatory life sentence as a juvenile was abolished by the SCOTUS. She served 2.5 years on death row as a teenager. Women serve their time differently than men. Their time is deemed inconsequential and therefore less deserving than men. Mercy, is simply what they deserve.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Avie Song on December 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
I rarely write book reviews, but after reading a couple seemingly misinformed reviews on this page, I have to say that Jones does a thorough job covering all types of female murderers in the United States. They kill for money and property; they kill to relieve themselves of burdensome children; they kill because they have undiagnosed psychiatric conditions; and more. Yes, women also kill in self-defense, but there are numerous accounts of women who kill for gain.

That said, this was an enjoyable and witty read. Jones seamlessly transitions from one story to another. As a reader, I delighted in the intrigue! the sensation! in Jone's anecdotes, which she placed in their appropriate historical context (and analyzed from a sociological perspective). I wish Jones had been able to cover more American women from all walks of life (women of various ethnicities, immigrants and the working class), but I understand that she only had access to stories that received press coverage.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
What drives women to a violent extreme? "Women Who Kill" is a discussion of women who have taken on the role of murderer. Drawing a discussion where some women feel driven to kill out of fear of their lovers, Ann Jones believes that it should not be surprising when women lash out, but it should instead be surprising that it doesn't happen more often. Discussing battered woman's syndrome and its place in court cases, "Women Who Kill" is an intriguing look in what can drive women to extremes.
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