Synopses & Reviews
The period 1870-1958 was revolutionary in the lives of women. Societys shifting perceptions of women and their role were apparent in the courtroom. Women Who Kill Men
analyzes eighteen sensational cases of women on trial for murder in this period to identify the intersections of media, law, and gender in California.
The fascinating details of these murder trials, documented in court records and embellished newspaper coverage, mirrored the changing public image of women. Most women and their attorneys relied on gendered stereotypes and language to create their defense and sometimes to leverage their status in a patriarchal system. Those who could successfully dress and act the part of the victim were most often able to win the sympathy of the jury. Gender mattered. And though the norms shifted over time, the press, attorneys, and juries were all informed by contemporary gender stereotypes.
"Women Who Kill Men will appeal to social historians, behaviorists, students of women's issues, and the buff trade."—Clark Secrest, Western Historical Quarterly Clark Secrest
"Women Who Kill Men: California Courts, Gender, and the Press provides a unique, historical glimpse into the trials of female defendants charged with murder in California from 1870 to 1958."—Brooke Butler, Psychology of Women Quarterly Western Historical Quarterly
About the Author
Gordon Morris Bakken is a professor of history at California State University, Fullerton. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Practicing Law in Frontier California
(Nebraska, 2006) and Mining Law of 1872: Past, Politics, and Prospects
Brenda Farrington is a lecturer in the history department at Chapman University. She has coauthored or coedited several books with Gordon Morris Bakken, including Law in the West and Encyclopedia of Women in the American West.