Women and the Noose: A History of Female Execution
Tracing the history of female crime and execution from 1726 to 1955, Women and the Noose presents the cases of more than 50 women who met their end on the hangman’s gallows. From the criminal act to the execution day itself, these women’s stories illustrate the range of crimes punishable by execution, such as petty theft and murder, as well as reactions to the death sentence, including the "pleading the belly" defense. Richard Clark also discusses the developments in execution methods, from burning at the stake to the short- and long-drop, as well as the move from very public hangings to more dignified private events. Clark’s frank treatment of the executions combined with sympathetic revelations about the women’s private lives makes for a chilling and surprisingly moving read.
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