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Women Who Kill Paperback – October 1, 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Stunning, revealing, provoking. . . . A powerful book, not only about women who murder, but also about how women have been perceived." —Vogue

"[Jones] is a sardonic, savagely witty storyteller."—Newsweek

"This provocative book . . . reminds us again that women are entitled to their rage." —New York Times Book Review

"A classic and superb piece of work that can change social attitudes." —Adrienne Rich, author of Diving into the Wreck

"An extraordinary feat . . . a groundbreaking book filled with originality on every page."—Susan Brownmiller, author of Against Our Will

“Ann Jones's classic book shows that female violence is nothing new and hardly rare, and the motivation behind it speaks volumes about the society in which it takes place.”—Patty Jenkins, director of Monster

About the Author

Ann Jones is a scholar, journalist, photographer, and the author of ten books of nonfiction, including Kabul in Winter.
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

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: 6.1 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #297,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Incredible amount of research detailing the centuries-old, and ultimately dangerous consequences, of ownership and subjugation of women. Jones makes it clear that there can be no lasting freedom, security, or harmony as long as one group/person has the power to control and limit another group/person. There will be needless bloodshed and loss of life. The book became somewhat repetitive and, therefore, tedious as the author related case after case with the same or similar dynamics. Understanding that the reality was exactly the way she portrayed it.

I so appreciate Ann Jones' wonderful accomplishment! Men and women need to read this.
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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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This is non-fiction book. Ann jones is a very comprehensive woman as minority conscientious writer. Her holistic overview of the justice system
legislative system is very comprehensive. She brings to light that it would benefit the whole system to concentrate on the representative roles of women, and bring it into the twenty first century. A GREAT READ!!!!! I want to read more of her books
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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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