Cara Robertson at Harvard Book Store

Thursday, March 28, 2019 7:00pm

Cara Robertson

Harvard Book Store welcomes lawyer, scholar, and writer CARA ROBERTSON for a discussion of her debut book, The Trial of Lizzie Borden.

About The Trial of Lizzie Borden

The Trial of Lizzie Borden tells the true story of one of the most sensational murder trials in American history. When Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally hacked to death in Fall River, Massachusetts, in August 1892, the arrest of the couple’s younger daughter Lizzie turned the case into international news and her trial into a spectacle unparalleled in American history. Reporters flocked to the scene. Well-known columnists took up conspicuous seats in the courtroom. The defendant was relentlessly scrutinized for signs of guilt or innocence. Everyone—rich and poor, suffragists and social conservatives, legal scholars and laypeople—had an opinion about Lizzie Borden’s guilt or innocence. Was she a cold-blooded murderess or an unjustly persecuted lady? Did she or didn’t she?

The popular fascination with the Borden murders and its central enigmatic character has endured for more than one hundred years. Immortalized in rhyme, told and retold in every conceivable genre, the murders have secured a place in the American pantheon of mythic horror, but one typically wrenched from its historical moment. In contrast, Cara Robertson explores the stories Lizzie Borden’s culture wanted and expected to hear and how those stories influenced the debate inside and outside of the courtroom. Based on transcripts of the Borden legal proceedings, contemporary newspaper accounts, unpublished local accounts, and recently unearthed letters from Lizzie herself, The Trial of Lizzie Borden offers a window onto America in the Gilded Age, showcasing its most deeply held convictions and its most troubling social anxieties.

Praise

"With deft storytelling and convincing scholarship, Cara Robertson does the seemingly impossible by bringing new life to perhaps our oldest true-crime saga: the Gilded Age case of Lizzie Borden. By giving us Fall River, Massachusetts, in full and in context, as well as the panoply of characters who made the trial so sensational, Robertson has written that rarest of things: a page-turner with a point." —Jon Meacham, author of The Soul of America

“A fascinating social history.” —Mary Higgins Clark, author of I’ve Got My Eyes on You

"Robertson presents the story with the thoroughness one expects from an attorney . . . Fans of crime novels will love it." —Kirkus Reviews

Website:
Phone:
(617) 661-1515
Cost:
Free
Location:
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138