Lizzie A. Borden. For the majority, the name conjures up visions of a hatchet-wielding murderess, blindly considered guilty of the horrific crime of parricide. But the outcome of her sensational trial was quite the opposite: Tried by due process, she was acquitted of all charges. A free woman, she returned to Fall River, Massachusetts, her native city, to resume private life. Yet, regardless of that liberating decision, the specter of suspicion remained ever-present, haunting Lizzie relentlessly for the rest of her days.
And what of Fall River? Few recollect its once-glorious past when it was hailed as the Spindle City, largest producer of cotton cloth in the United States; in this immesely lucrative textile center, the fabric that spewed from its mills generated great wealth, at the same time creating even greater poverty.
Here is their story, as it has never been told. In Parallel Lives, a picture is woven of Fall River during the 19th and early-20th centuries, the city that Lizzie knew and called "home." With that city as a backdrop, Lizzie's tale unfolds.
In researching this volume, the authors were permitted unprecendented access to myriad resources pertaining to Lizzie, held privately for generations. Drawing on this important, previously unpublished material, including rare letters and photographs, this book is a breakthrough as a dual history of Fall River and its most infamous citizen. Its pages reveal more new material than all other books on the subject have done before - combined!
Heretofore, Lizzie has been presented as a one-dimensional character, defined by legend, innuendo, and outright lies. Now, for the first time, we meet her as a far more complex, complete individual whose personal life, albeit private, was one of grace and dignity. Meet a different Lizzie A. Borden, who was anything but the ogre fabricated by those who did not know her personally. This is the story of the city and the woman who, for 66 years, shared Parallel Lives.
About Michael Martins and Dennis A. Binette
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Published January 1, 2011
by Fall River Historical Society.