Parallel Lives by Michael Martins and Dennis A. Binette
A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River

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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 Drawing on this important, previously unpublished material, including rare letters and photographs, this book is a breakthrough as a dual history of Fall River and its most infamous citizen.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. 1138 pages
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It’s been more than eight decades since the death of Lizzie Borden, but interest in the gruesome ax murders that made her famous lives on.

Jun 08 2012 | Read Full Review of Parallel Lives: A Social Hist...


Lizzie Borden has been encapsulated in pop culture based on an inaccurate quatrain characterizing her as a one dimensional psychopath wielding a bloody axe, Parallel Lives has irrevocably transformed and revealed Lizzie Borden to be a three dimensional flesh and blood human being with heart, spir...

Nov 19 2012 | Read Full Review of Parallel Lives: A Social Hist...

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