Women Who Love Men Who Kill: 35 True Stories of Prison Passion (Updated Edition) (Paperback)Sheila Isenberg (author)
At once disturbing and fascinating, Women Who Love Men Who Kill is a compelling psychological study of prison passion in the new millennium. Through extensive research and interviews with women who seek relationships with convicted killers through snail and e-mail, and through conversations with psychiatrists, social workers, and prison officials, Isenberg sheds light on why these women are drawn into relationships with incarcerated outcasts.
Many of the women vulnerable to these relationships know exactly what they are getting into. But they are willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of a love without hope or promise, or consummation.
Updated and revised since its original publication, this second edition of Women Who Love Men Who Kill includes gripping new case studies and an absorbing look at how the digital age is revolutionizing this phenomenon. Meet the young women writing "fan fiction" featuring America's most sadistic murderers; the killer serving consecutive life sentences for strangling his wife and smothering his toddler daughters-and the women who visit him in prison; the high-powered journalist who fell in love and risked it all for "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli; and many other women absorbed in online and real-life dalliances with their killer men.
Publisher: Diversion Books
Number of pages: 256
Dimensions: 215 x 139 mm
"Sheila Isenberg's book is searingly perceptive about women who fall in love with men convicted of the most serious crimes; women who use social media to befriend and romance these prisoners and who have similar backgrounds of abuse. In this stunningly smart and original work, Isenberg does what few authors have done: She uncovers a fresh realm that our ubiquitous digital culture has created-that of once-forbidden but, to some, deeply compelling love."
-Sheila Weller, bestselling author of Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon-And the Journey of a Generation
"Sheila Isenberg takes readers deep into the psychological and sexual labyrinth occupied by women entangled romantically with dangerous men behind bars. The dozens of women she interviews reveal their own secrets, their often abusive sexual initiations, their dreams, their deep fears. Isenberg's eye on this sisterhood is unblinking and also deeply sympathetic. Readers will learn a lot about an enormous subculture within the most incarcerating nation on earth. They may also learn a bit about themselves."
-Jed Horne, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Desire Street: A True Story of Death and Deliverance in New Orleans, nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime
"A spellbinding journey through the dark and unpredictable meanders of wound culture, and thirst for fame."
-Chantal Deravin, author of Le Corps Revele (The Body Revealed)
"Sheila Isenberg's updated exploration of 'women who love men who kill' brings this puzzling phenomenon into a contemporary, and more disturbing, context. She documents how communication technologies and websites now make it easy for anyone on the outside to forge a relationship with a killer in prison. And she examines why they might want to: The growing, sordid fascination with perpetrators of heinous crimes as played out in online fan clubs. Isenberg's reporting is especially important in her ability to link legacies of women's early abuse to the intimate partners they subsequently seek out. This book offers a sobering reminder on multiple levels that in an absence of healthy familial relationships growing up, unhealthy cycles just get perpetuated."
-Rekha Basu, columnist, Des Moines Register and author of Finding Her Voice
"A modern take on her seminal work, Isenberg demystifies with complexity and humanity the women who pursue men who have committed violent crimes. Drawing on incredible interviews and reporting from women involved with men behind bars, Isenberg's new work comes with fresh, vivid case studies and unforgettable stories. She examines how technology and new platforms have made this phenomenon even more commonplace in our culture, and how the question of why women love men who kill? is just as compelling and relevant as ever."
-Elizabeth Greenwood, author of Love Lockdown: Dating, Sex, and Marriage in America's Prisons
"A fascinating look at women 'compelled to dance with the masters of death'-women so obsessed with convicted murderers that they marry them . . . Isenberg interviewed dozens of [women], plus prison officials, police, psychiatrists, and psychologists. . . . Isenberg's skills in getting these women to reveal themselves, her ability to present them as sympathetic and understandable, and her synthesis of the material they provided make for an engrossing report."
"Women Who Love Men Who Kill, as its irresistible title suggests, has plenty of interesting stuff."
-Los Angeles Times
"Shocking . . . compelling . . . like the best prison lit!"
-Village Voice Literary Supplement
"Isenberg (Muriel's War: An American Heiress in the Nazi Resistance) updates her 1991 book of the same title with this engrossing, thoroughly researched look at women who are in romantic relationships with incarcerated men. While such arrangements are far from new, the author notes, the internet, social media, and smartphones have made them easier than ever. Websites such as writeaprisoner.com put finding a romantic link behind bars just a few clicks away, and apps like JPay, where women can send money, emails, and video visits, make keeping up the romance easy. But why do women do it? The author's interviews reveal that some are drawn to fame-it's easier to get a serial killer to answer your love letters than a movie star-and others because they crave a fictional romance and the safety of loving a man behind bars. (Interestingly, most of Isenberg's subjects suffered a childhood trauma and are Catholic.) Serial killer Ted Bundy had his groupies and even married one of them during his trial, and the Boston Marathon bomber inspires fan fiction on websites and thousands of #FreeJahar posts on the internet, mostly by teenage girls. Assured prose keeps the pages turning. True crime fans will find this a real eye-opener.
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