The Trials of Laura Fair - Sex, Murder, and Insanity in the Victorian West

Carole Haber

Published by Blackstone Audio
ISBN 10: 148292420X / ISBN 13: 9781482924206
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BRAND NEW Audiobook on MP3 CD - Unabridged A Brand New Quality Audiobook from a Full-Time Veteran Owned Bookshop in business since 1992!. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: [MP3-CD audiobook format in Vinyl case.]

[Read by Pam Ward]

On November 3, 1870, on a ferry between Oakland and San Francisco, Laura Fair shot a bullet into the heart of her married lover, Alexander Crittenden. Fair, hardly a typical Victorian woman, had been married four times -- two marriages ended in divorce and two in widowhood -- and had acquired over $45,000 from her own businesses and investments in Nevada's silver mines. In the two trials that followed Crittenden's murder, Fair's lawyers, supported by expert testimony from physicians, claimed that the shooting was the result of temporary insanity caused by dysmenorrhea, a painful and problematic menstrual cycle. Fair's first trial ended in a guilty verdict, making her the first woman in the history of California to be sentenced to death by hanging. This verdict was quickly overturned, and after a second trial, Fair was found innocent, though she remained an outcast for the rest of her life.

Carole Haber uses Fair's story to discuss reputation in the American West, where settlers could reinvent themselves and their pasts. Haber works closely with trial transcripts and extensive news coverage of the trials to examine the era's most controversial issues: the emerging suffrage movement, the gendered court system, the authority of medical professionals over the female body, the effect of western migration, and the free love movement. Studying Fair's trial, Haber explores how conceptions of morality and immorality, masculinity and femininity, love and marriage, health and disease, and mental illness were each reinvented and redefined in the West. Ultimately, Haber's work revises our understanding of Victorian society and femininity, opening the door to a broader discussion about the ways in which reputation, especially female reputation, is shaped and accepted.

Book Description: "In her outstanding new book, Carole Haber examines Laura Fair's murder case, as well as its lasting significance and continuing impact on the portrayal of women in the press and popular media. The scholarship is excellent and the read is thrilling."--Gordon Morris Bakken, California State University at Fullerton

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Title: The Trials of Laura Fair - Sex, Murder, and ...
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Book Condition: BRAND NEW

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