Letters from Prison: Voices of Women Murderers

Letters from Prison: Voices of Women Murderers

Letters from Prison: Voices of Women Murderers

Letters from Prison: Voices of Women Murderers


Peter the Great was a tough act to follow. Who could possibly take the place of that gigantic reformer, that despotic visionary? He died in 1725, leaving Russia with one foot in the modern world and one foot in obscurity - and entirely caught up in a snarl of conspiracies and betrayals.

In the next 37 years, five women would make history, calling the shots as their nation became a player in the major-league games of Europe. Brains and brass, gluttony and glory. . . these passionate women responded to the challenges - some for better, some for worse.

Henri Troyat paints a dazzling tableau with all the glitter of a St. Petersburg wavering under the competing influences of Prussia and Versailles. In this intimate view of history, we eavesdrop on family quarrels, lovers' trysts and diplomatic conspiracies. Troyat is the perfect author to bring us this real-life fairytale. Born in Moscow in 1911, he experienced Russia's turbulent history himself before making his way to France. In Paris, he achieved extraordinary success as a biographer and lyrical novelist, and was rewarded for his beautiful prose with acceptance into the exclusive Académie Française and with the Prix Goncourt.


Letters from Prison: Voices of Women Murderers is not an exercise in voyeuristic curiosity but a journey to understand women who have been the victims of violence that has generated further violence. This journey encourages us to understand that evil is not innate, and these stories may serve as “windows of enlightenment” to encourage societal change. The reader is not asked to forgive, accept or condone these women and their actions, but to attempt to understand the root causes of their behaviors.

Jennifer Furio has once again skillfully procured graphic word-ofmouth personal descriptive material from the main characters, words that resonate with our desire to understand the “why” of murder while illuminating what we already sense — that violence begets violence. This book’s contribution lies not only in its highly charged material, which would not be readily available to even the most seasoned and serious of researchers, but in its non-judgmental and non-exploitative presentation. It is this element of sincerity and depth of purpose that has elicited the trust and confidence of the subjects of this book, some of whom are on death row. Ms. Furio has been able to delve into the recesses of the lives of the perpetrators, when others have been denied.

The author has been able to humanize the seemingly “unhumanizable” perpetrators of society’s most abominable crimes. For instance, we learn that even in the darkness of infanticide women remain nurturers… and they, too, suffer. Their destructive behaviors are a product . . .

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