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Did Lizzie Borden Axe for It? [Paperback]

David Rehak
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 1 2008
Lizzie was an average, unremarkable woman, and the most extraordinary criminal or criminal suspect in history. Before she was accused of murder, she was a tiny grain of sand, an absolute nobody who no one took much notice of. But after she was accused of murder, she became an unforgettable symbol and legend, an absolute somebody. The debate on whether Lizzie Borden was innocent or guilty brings out passionate feelings and disagreements in every sort of person. The divide between those who believe she did the crime and those who don't sometimes runs very deep. Did Lizzie Borden take an "axe" and kill her parents? "Did Lizzie Borden Axe For It?" has been the "best-selling" book on Lizzie Borden since its initial publication, and here it is again in print. This new improved re-edited edition is revised and abridged and streamlined with a focus on better, more interesting and more relevant information, including over 20 new photos. 70 photographs and illustrations in all.

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Product Description

About the Author

DAVID REHAK is a Lizzie Borden researcher whose primary interest is in trying to uncover new, rare, and overlooked Bordenia. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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5.0 out of 5 stars book review April 15 2013
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I totally enjoyed the book! The author took you on a fascinating tour of possibilities of who could have conducted this horrible crime.
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I had the privilege of editing the first version of this book for author David Rehak. This is an excellent, updated version with a new cover that I find appropriate for the book's content.

Did Lizzie Borden Axe For It? is Rehak's first nonfiction book, for which he did extensive research. Rehak discovered many new facts about Lizzie Borden, and to lighten the serious nature of the book, he also wrote some humorous skits. At first thought, one would tend to think humor wouldn't work in a book like this, but he pulls it off ... somehow. I found the break from gore to humor to be a welcome relief. (Well, it works in the best horror movies, doesn't it?)

Even if you're not into "Bordenia," which I'm not, you will be intrigued by this book. It's different, to say the least. I learned new things about Lizzie Borden that haven't been brought to light before, and the previously unpublished photos add more mystery to the content.

Someone once wrote of Rehak: "He dares to go where most authors fear to tread." And I agree: In his fictitious works, he writes about many taboo subjects. This nonfiction book about Lizzie Borden seems natural for his unique skills.

Reviewed by: Betty Dravis, 2008
Author of: Millennium Babe: The Prophecy
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Key ingredients for a great crime story" June 1 2008
By Linda Bulger - Published on Amazon.com
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There are many unsolved murders in history, but few hold the public interest like the 1892 slayings of Andrew and Abby Borden in Fall River, Massachusetts. Lizzie, 32 years old at the time, was tried for the murders and found innocent but as David Rehak points out, her acquittal was never fully endorsed by public opinion. He proposes that the story lives on in part because the public sees Lizzie as either (a) having acted out their own fantasy of retribution, or else (b) as a symbol of gross suspicion and injustice. There was family disharmony, a large inheritance under dispute, a suspect of unblemished reputation, and a mountain of fact and speculation that defied integration into a sound case.

Did Lizzie Borden Axe for It? is a compendium of Bordenia that is sure to enlighten all with an interest in this mystifying case. David Rehak, known for his works of fiction, developed an interest in the case and researched meticulously before presenting this book. The current edition has been amplified and re-issued, and there are a few editing flaws in this new version that could have been addressed to bump my rank up to five stars. In spite of this, I found it an absorbing and extremely thorough canvass of the facts and speculations about the case. There are many photographs included, some of them previously unpublished.

Starting with a thorough chronology of the fateful day in August 1892, Rehak goes on to examine the sometimes-confusing facts from the public record. Next he covers the speculation and rumor that emerged in his research. The suggestion of a never-revealed diary, theories about Lizzie's relationships and sexuality, and stories from her later life are detailed fastidiously. The sites and "shrines" associated with Lizzie's life and the murders are covered--the house where the Bordens lived and died is now a bed-and-breakfast hotel.

The final section of the book is the most unusual. Rehak discusses a number of articles in print that relate to the case. He details the non-disclosure of case-related documents held by Lizzie's trial attorney which are protected by legal privilege. There is a challenge to this status from a number of parties, with the argument being made that historical interest trumps privilege in this case, with all participants being long dead. Will we ever see the contents of the five file drawers secured in a law firm in Springfield, Massachusetts?

As a final serving of Bordenia, the book finishes with some fictional writings featuring Lizzie and the case. Here the speculations are given free rein! It's an entertaining finish to a sad story. Our desire to know what actually happened to Andrew and Abby Borden may never be satisfied, but Did Lizzie Borden Axe for It? takes the discussion forward in a most entertaining fashion.

Linda Bulger, 2008
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No axe for this book! Aug. 17 2008
By Claus J. Engel - Published on Amazon.com
Well written, great research and good photos. Anybody who appreciates
good documentation and entertainment will love this book.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enlightening book for both pro and con LIZZIE followers! April 28 2008
By Betty L. Dravis - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I had the privilege of editing the first version of this book for author David Rehak. This is an excellent, updated version with a new cover that I find appropriate for the book's content.

Did Lizzie Borden Axe For It? is Rehak's first nonfiction book, for which he did extensive research. Rehak discovered many new facts about Lizzie Borden, and to lighten the serious nature of the book, he also wrote some humorous skits. At first thought, one would tend to think humor wouldn't work in a book like this, but he pulls it off ... somehow. I found the break from gore to humor to be a welcome relief. (Well, it works in the best horror movies, doesn't it?)

Even if you're not into "Bordenia," which I'm not, you will be intrigued by this book. It's different, to say the least. I learned new things about Lizzie Borden that haven't been brought to light before, and the previously unpublished photos add more mystery to the content.

Someone once wrote of Rehak: "He dares to go where most authors fear to tread." And I agree: In his fictitious works, he writes about many taboo subjects. This nonfiction book about Lizzie Borden seems natural for his unique skills.

Reviewed by: Betty Dravis, 2008
Author of: Millennium Babe: The Prophecy
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Campy title, but great factual & creative content Aug. 24 2009
By Timothy Andrew Paine - Published on Amazon.com
I visited a lot of websites on Lizzie Borden and then decided to get William Masterton's "Lizzie Didn't Do It" which I found to be a really good first book to read on this crime. David Rehak's "Did Lizzie Borden Axe For It?", 2008 version, is a really good book to read once you've learned the basics of this case from a few websites. Personally if I were the author, I would have titled it something less cheesy like "Did Lizzie Borden Take an Axe?" instead, but that's just me). Anyway, this book contrary to what I feared, is well-written and well-edited. It nicely covers the many details of the murders, and also includes a lot of additional stuff about Lizzie as a person and her private life which I at least found very interesting. Even the supposed fiction section is so full of facts and plausible scenarios that those things could very well have happened something like that in real life and were entertaining reading. These fun creative chapters with the stories, comedy skits, etc were terrific. I found the book thought-provoking and enjoyable from beginning to end.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rich stew, often funny, always entertaining! Sept. 10 2009
By P. B. Sharp - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Funny? Yes. Author Rehak deftly and tastefully enlightens the sordidness of the murder with touches of humor so that this book is not just historical journalism, it is an entertainment.

It all boils down to the personality of Lizzie Borden, the totally inscrutable. What keeps the Borden murders alive when thousands of equally sensational, grisly murders are quickly forgotten by the public is the character of Lizzie herself. The most interesting parts of this book deal with Lizzie's psyche. Her personality is the lynch pin but she is such a creature of contradictions nobody can figure out what actually made her tick. She is such an enigma the argument as to her guilt or innocence will go on forever. (Rehak tells us some 1900 couples had filed for divorce during the trial because they couldn't agree on Lizzie).

The premeditated murders of Abby and Andrew Borden in August 1892 were orchestrated and choreographed with precision and although a lot of luck was involved, this was the work of a very level headed killer with an incredible amount of sheer nerve.

Some people found Lizzie aloof, sullen, even repellent. Even now she bears watching, like you'd watch a snake. Others, towards the end of her life, found her generous and kind hearted, a giver to charities and animal protection leagues and starving actors and who had special soft spot for children. But here was a woman who, before the murders, when annoyed by a stray cat, took it down in her cellar and chopped its head off. Who was caught shop-lifting several times even when she had received her inheritance. Who possibly had an incestuous love for her father, and when she overheard her father talking about his planning to give a piece of property to his wife Abby, not to Lizzie and her sister Emma, a jealous rage prompted her to run out and try to buy prussic acid. She couldn't get the acid, but there was that old hatchet in the barn back there, possibly the same one used to decapitate the cat... The Bordens were killed the next day.

Whether or not Lizzie was a lesbian is discussed at length in the book, and of course anything titillating like this is of interest. The evidence is quite strong that she had female lovers but like everything else about her there is no concrete proof. On the surface she remained a Victorian lady, deeply involved in her church and charities. But who knows what seething passions went on inside her bland exterior?

The book is enhanced with many illustrations, including grisly ones of Andrew and Abby's bodies, portraits of Lizzie herself, her lawyers, her houses, her possible female lovers. There is a great deal of information presented which is thrown in your lap and as the author does not take a stand on Lizzie's guilt but expects you to digest, assimilate and weave together the evidence, you have to come to your own conclusion.

Did she or didn't she? Everything hinges on her character and you'll see Lizzie here as you've never seen her before!
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