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The Most Evil Women in History by Shelley…
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The Most Evil Women in History (2003)

by Shelley Klein

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Here is a book you truly can't judge by its cover. The cover is for marketing purposes. It is sensational. The contents are not.

I found this book to be a very interesting read, don't get me wrong. But, The Most "Evil" Women in History? I question that. I will agree that there are a few examples in here that were really horrific reading but there were some that I felt were more bent on survival than being truly evil. Examples are the older stories about Catherine the Great and Aggrippina the Lesser. Lets face it, in today's world Men have problems behaving properly and treating women fairly. In those times? Multiply the abuse by about 1000. I felt that these women did what they did just to stay alive and to flurish. Also, with one expection, all the women described here did what they did either with a man as a partner or because of a man. My point is that I guess my definition of Evil and the author's defenition of evil are two totally different defenitions.

The book itself read like a pretty morbid version of the TV news gossip show "Hardcopy" or better yet, I can see this book being a Holloween cable TV special narrated by Vincent Price. So it was entertaining in a very morbid sort of way. It also brings to mind that one really does not know what is in the mind of their fellow human being and that there really were no such days as days of innocence. Sad but true.

I would recommend this book to anyone to read. It is entertaining. The author does back up her facts with footnote annotation that is easily researched and generally it is an easy read. My only beef with it is that I found that with maybe one or two exceptions, these women were not generally, of their own nature, evil. Hence the 3 star rating.
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  DVerdecia | Jan 29, 2016 |
I found this book interesting, at times gruesome and disturbing, but interesting none the less. Some of the women included I felt were rather tame considering. They committed heinous acts to be sure, but they did not seem to be at the level of some of the others. It was your typical book of mass murdering psychopaths and serial killers (which in the female category they are admittedly few compared to their male counterparts). I can't say that the writing was particularly impressive, nor was it bad. The author seemed to favor the term "ruled with a rod of iron" which began to get on my nerves. Repetitive words and/or phrases being a particular pet peeve of mine. Having seen the movie Monster, I enjoyd the inclusion of Aileen Carol Wuornos. Charlize Theron looked surprisingly like her in the film. There were a few other stories I was fairly familiar with, having lived in England in the late 80's / early 90's, and having a sister who is a fan of crime shows on television. I found the earlier historical figures i.e.. Roman Empresses, Catherine the Great of Russia, Tz'u-Hsi of China particularly intriguing.

My brother now refers to me as "psycho" because of the title! ( )
  Ameliapei | Apr 18, 2013 |
A collection of biographies on some of the world's most notorious female killers. The stories that involved killing children sickened me the most. I found the accounts of the evil historical figures, like Catherine the Great, to be quite facinating. As with most history books, the reading often felt a little dry so I had to take breaks from it now and again. I found the best way to approach this book was to read about one person a day and read something lighter along with it. ( )
1 vote bibliophile26 | Sep 2, 2007 |
Disturbingly interesting. My mother in law was aghast when I put this on my christmas list ( )
1 vote catlin | Dec 2, 2005 |
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The man who does not know sick women does not know women.
--S. Weir Mitchell
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Ever since Eve first plucked that infamous apple from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden, womankind has enjoyed or suffered (depending on your point of view) from a borderline, split personality.
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This book details the lives and careers of fifteen women whose crimes have, at one time or another, stained the pages of history. Patricide, fratricide and, most terrible of all, infanticide; murder under trust; serial murder; sexually motivated killings; murders for gain or to conceal other crimes - all these and others are detailed in this fascinating study of the manifestation of true evil in women over some 2,000 years.… (more)

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