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A Private Disgrace: Lizzie Borden By Daylight

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  262 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
On a stiflingly hot August morning in 1892 Lizzie Borden, of Fall River, Massachusetts, chopped her stepmother to death with an ax. An hour and a half later, she killed her father the same way. Although the story has been told by those least qualified to do so -- outsiders and men. Now, for the first time, this famous American crime is examined by someone with all the ...more
Hardcover, 317 pages
Published December 1990 by Time Life Education (first published 1967)
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Jun 02, 2014 Elaine rated it really liked it

Victoria Lincoln wrote A Private Disgrace: Lizzie Borden by Daylight in 1967. As a native of Fall River, Massachutes, Lizzie's hometown and scene of the horrific 1893 murders of Andrew and Abby Borden, she grew up fascinated by Lizzie's story. Her research was slow and inhibited by Fall River's ongoing shame at it's grisly notoriety. Over one hundred years later public opinion is still divided over Ms
Borden's guilt or innocence.

As Miss Lincoln hails from Fall River, she does offer unique insigh
Apr 23, 2012 Christiane rated it liked it
I have read a lot of books on Lizzie Borden but had somehow missed this one, written in 1967 by a woman who grew up in Fall River, practically next door to Lizzie. She has some interesting theories and the book is very well-researched and well-written. I like that she wastes no time trying to prove Lizzie innocent; her theory as to why Lizzie did it is very believable, and her coverage of the trial makes it clear how (and why) Lizzie literally got away with murder. A very good read even for ...more
Liz Amend
Jul 24, 2011 Liz Amend rated it really liked it
Great book to get your feet wet with the Borden mystery!

Ms.Lincoln would have us believe she knew Lizzie much more personally than she actually did and that she lived much closer to her when Lizzie moved into Maplecroft after the murders. In fact, she lived several houses away and was a child during her few encounters with Lizzie. I do believe she had some useful insight into the townspeople, their thoughts on the crimes and how Lizzie was regarded in the town. She certainly grew up hearing the
Katherine Addison
Victoria Lincoln, like Arnold Brown (Lizzie Borden: The Legend, the Truth, the Final Chapter), was a native of Fall River. More than that, she lived a block away from Lizzie Borden as a child and thus remembers both her and the society that created her. You don't have to agree with Lincoln to find her insights into Fall River's tightly closed upper class community--and its effects on Lizzie Borden--illuminating.

There are odd points at which Brown and Lincoln agree; for instance, they both argue
Aug 07, 2014 Betty rated it liked it
When I was a young girl, I checked a book on Lizzie Borden out of our hometown library. I vividly remember the smell of the book, mustiness and old library glue, because it somehow transported me to an old house in the late 1890's. I can't remember the title, or it's reasoning but I came away from the reading convinced that she was innocent. After reading A Private Disgrace, I've had to amend that belief. Ms. Lincoln presents facts of the investigation and trial using police & legal sources ...more
Martha Steele
Victoria Lincoln was a young girl in Fall River, MA, and knew Lizzie Borden. There are a lot of interesting details here, but Lincoln's writing style rambles a bit too much. She also tries, and fails, to lend an air of clever yet profound insight to some of her passages that was irksome.
Oct 29, 2016 Sherilyn rated it liked it
Shelves: all-john-s-fault
A bit of a dry retelling but suitable background for a trip to Fall River to visit the house and cemetery.
Jul 15, 2012 Sean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
I sought out this book as part of a "project" to read the "honor roll" of 10 classic crime stories listed by James Hitchcock in an American Scholar essay "Murder as One of the Liberal Arts" which I photocopied years ago, probably in the 1990s. By classic, Hitchcock means a crime story which has endured and remained of interest over the years usually because some mystery still surrounds the case.

I think this book presumes some prior knowledge of the case, although if you keep focus through the wh
Merja Pohjola
Sep 01, 2014 Merja Pohjola rated it it was ok
I take all biographies with a grain of salt... and this includes stories of true murder.
This book has the advantage that the author lived at the time the murders happened, and not only that, she lived in the same city and "knew" Lizzie.
However, the forensics being what they were at the time, she is not able to present conclusive evidence... and should that be the case, Lizzie would have been found guilty :-)
Another thing... medicine was in its infant shoes too. I have NEVER heard of full fron
Anna Erishkigal
Dec 09, 2012 Anna Erishkigal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
I first read A Private Disgrace in law school while preparing for a mock trial. Victoria Lincoln has walked that fine line between accurately telling the facts she uncovered via meticulous research and telling a tale that is interesting (unlike the other horrid books we were assigned). She tells her tale like a Homerian bard might sing a song to a king; history and fact intertwined with just enough human interest to make it feel more like you have the inside scoop on some juicy gossip rather ...more
Oct 19, 2013 Sandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An aunt who made it her mission to encourage young people to read let me borrow her copy of this book when I was in high school. I had seen the TV movie version of this story, and I was scared to death of the book as a result. I dug in, nevertheless. I was glad I did because I loved the narrative. Victoria Lincoln draws a portrait of late-19th century mores in New England at the same time she creates a vivid portrait of a woman acquitted of a crime she very likely committed. It's as gruesome as ...more
Debby Allen
Jul 23, 2011 Debby Allen rated it liked it
Interesting, unsettling. Downrright scary in light of Casey Anthony's very recent acquittal, and of course OJ. Makes me truly wonder at our legal process. The book is easy to read, though the construction is often circuitous, felt like reading Jane Austen, including the moments of wit. More than I ever really wanted to know about Lizzie Borden, read it as a recommendation from another book, probably would have found it less interesting but for the timing. Or maybe more so, it wouldn't have been ...more
Anne Hawn Smith
Apr 07, 2010 Anne Hawn Smith rated it liked it
This was an interesting insight on this classic unsolved mystery. The author was from Fall River and contributed some fascinating information on the character of the town and its inhabitants. She also included newly released information from the inquest and I found myself even more convinced as to the perpetrator. I was a little put off by some of the first person opinion and commentary, but it didn't detract from the book.

Jessica Powell
Mar 28, 2016 Jessica Powell rated it it was ok
Some interesting information from a woman who grew up just a few doors away from Lizzie Borden, and could comment knowledgeably on the local personages, the layout of the house, quirks of dress and language, etc. But, and for me it was a big but, the writing style is so dull.

Lincoln makes much of Borden lacking imagination, and being completely unable to interest a court room with her version of event, yet the same could be said of her writing! It put me to sleep three nights in a row.
Oct 12, 2015 Hope added it
DNF. The library wants this one back, but I may eventually finish it. Lincoln's medical theories about Lizzie are dated, but she has some interesting insights into the personalities involved--as a Fall River native, she knew the elderly Lizzie as a child and her relatives knew Andrew and Abby Borden.
While providing a wonderful examination of what life was like in a small New England town at the turn of the last century including the relationships between different classes and communities I must admit that the book left me more perplexed than ever as to why the Borden case has remained so fascinating to so many for all these years.
Linda Bendiksen
May 29, 2015 Linda Bendiksen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
AWESOME, RIVETING read! Thanks to Charlaine Harris for referring to this work in one of her Aurora Teagarden mysteries. Ms. Lincoln grew up in the same town, and although she only knew Lizzie after her acquittal, she is able to provide the reader with an extraordinarily in-depth analysis.
Christine Aurilia
Apr 11, 2015 Christine Aurilia rated it really liked it
The book is interesting, well researched & gives a potential reason for some of Lizzie's odder behaviors. As in any book about this case nothing can be proved, but Lincoln presents a convincing case.
Feb 20, 2012 Delana rated it liked it
This book was recommended for deletion from our public library but after reading it I think it should stay. Lincoln tries to make herself more familiar with Lizzie Borden on a personal level than I think she was, but still an interesting read.
Anna Abner
Jan 17, 2014 Anna Abner rated it really liked it
I enjoy reading true crime books, and this did not disappoint. In fact, it is written by a woman whose family knew Lizzie and and lived in the same area at the same time. She has a unique perspective on the evidence and the social subtext of the period. Fascinating read.
Linda Anderson
Mar 27, 2015 Linda Anderson rated it really liked it
Very interesting. I originally started reading this as research for a story I'm writing in which Lizzie Borden esque atmosphere is needed, then I got genuinely interested in her story. I'm not sure, but I think she did it...
Aug 24, 2016 Heather rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Waste of valuable time

This book was ALL OVER the place. Everything was repeated over and over, using different names for the characters throughout the story. It was also quite unremarkable.
Apr 18, 2015 Gia rated it did not like it
Did not finish, it seems interesting, but I just could not read it. Maybe I will pick it up and try again another day.
Sandra Willey
Stupid Goodreads inserting the wrong book again. Haven't read this one. Reading Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee
Patty Abrams
Nov 16, 2014 Patty Abrams rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Did Lizzie Borden murder her parents? This author believes Lizzie had epileptic seizures during which she committed the murders and explains the motive. Fascinating.
Jul 10, 2014 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
October 1997
April 30, 1998: with (above)
July 2000
August 2003: with Mom on trip
August 2, 2010: with Mom on trip to Nashville
Dec 09, 2012 Jennifer rated it did not like it
Interesting perspective although the author overplayed her "connection" to Borden. Overall, her racist comments about the Irish made it too difficult to take her or the book seriously.
Jan 23, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it
A very thorough recounting of the Lizzie Borden case - I enjoyed the refreshing perspective, but the author's wording can be a little dense and difficult to wade through at times.
Jan 01, 2012 Bonsai rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up
Yuck. This reeks of gossip, and her theory is just too, too neat to be beliveable. Reads like fiction -- I think there's a reason for that.
lisa arling
lisa arling rated it really liked it
Oct 30, 2015
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VICTORIA LINCOLN was born in 1904 in Fall River, Massachusetts, where she lived until she graduated from the B.M.C. Durfee public high school in 1922.

She majored in English at Radcliffe College, married the scion of a well-to-do Southern family, divorced, and later married Victor Lowe, a professor of philosophy whose primary interest was in the work of Alfred North Whitehead. They settled in Balt
More about Victoria Lincoln...

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“We wasted little time wondering how anyone, even Lizzie, could nurse for five years a smoldering, mounting, murderous hate for anyone as uninteresting as Abby Borden ... we did, however, attach grave importance to Lizzie's 'peculiar spells.” 1 likes
“On the other hand, like most of Fall River, I had always wanted to read Edwin H. Porter's The Fall River Tragedy.  However, Lizzie bought off the printer, a local, and had the books destroyed before they hit the shops” 0 likes
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