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The Trials of Maria Barbella: The True Story of a 19th-Century Crime of Passion
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The Trials of Maria Barbella: The True Story of a 19th-Century Crime of Passion

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  37 ratings  ·  7 reviews
New York City, April 26, 1895, 9:30 AM. Domenico Cataldo sat studying his cards in a saloon on East 13th Street. He was looking forward to boarding a ship leaving for Italy that very afternoon. His lover, also a young Italian immigrant to New York - Maria Barbella - then entered the bar. There was a brief exchange. "Only a pig can marry you!" were his last words. Maria Bar ...more
Paperback, 316 pages
Published March 11th 1997 by Vintage (first published February 1st 1996)
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This book grabbed me and I could not put it down. Literally. I was thirsty but couldn't make myself stop reading to go get a drink, y'know how that is?

The framework is familiar to anyone who has read other historical true crime stories such as Thunderstruck: we follow two different protagonists who will cross paths. I found both protagonists' stories fascinating and the author doesn't get bogged down with telling the absolute details of absolutely everything or traipsing off on tangents as if t
This book was definitely intriguing. I absolutely love the story of Maria Barbella, an Italian immigrant in the Mulberry District of New York City, slitting the throat of her lover, going on trial for murder (twice), being the first woman to be sentenced to death by the electric chair, living on death row in Sing Sing, and being acquitted based on the defense of epilepsy. What is even better is that the story is true. What is terrible is that it has been forgotten in history, as many such events ...more
I'm very intrigued right now reading the first 100 pages. It reminds me of Chicago the movie, less dramatic. But the movie has a lot of the fictional settings like the book of Maria Barbella. Reading about our flawed justice system in the late early 1900s is reminiscent of the justice system now, it should be unbiased, but that is never truly the case even in the 21st century.
Maria Barbella was an Italian immigrant who came through Ellis Island with her family in the late 1800s. This young woman's story was very interesting. I read this book just prior to visiting New York and Ellis Island.
Grabbed a paperback for a trip to Europe; this was great! Learned of Italian immigrant life in US, wealthy Italian life, and the advent of electric chair -all in one story!
Excellent read. Highly recommend it.
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