Ugly Prey

Ugly Prey

An Innocent Woman and the Death Sentence That Scandalized Jazz Age Chicago

Book - 2017
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"The story of poor Italian immigrant Sabella Nitti, the first woman ever sentenced to hang in Chicago, in 1923, for the alleged murder of her husband"--
"An Italian immigrant who spoke little English and struggled to scrape together a living on her primitive family farm outside Chicago, Sabella Nitti was arrested in 1923 for the murder of her missing husband. Within two months, she was found guilty and became the first woman ever sentenced to hang in Chicago. Journalist Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi leads readers through Sabella's sensational case, showing how, with no evidence and no witnesses, she was the target of an obsessed deputy sheriff and the victim of a faulty legal system. She was also--to the men who convicted her and the reporters fixated on her--ugly. For that unforgiveable crime, the media painted her as a hideous, dirty, and unpredictable immigrant, almost an animal. Lucchesi brings to life the sights and sounds of 1920s Chicago--its then-rural outskirts, downtown halls of power, and headline-making crimes and trials, including those of two other women (who would inspire the musical and film Chicago) also accused of killing the men in their lives. But Sabella's fellow inmates Beulah and Belva were beautiful, charmed the all-male juries, and were quickly acquitted, raising doubts among many Chicagoans about the fairness of the "poor ugly immigrant's" conviction. Featuring an ambitious and ruthless journalist who helped demonize Sabella through her reports, and the brilliant, beautiful, twenty-three-year-old lawyer who helped humanize her with a jailhouse makeover, Ugly Prey is not just a page-turning courtroom drama but also a thought-provoking look at the intersection of gender, ethnicity, class, and the American justice system"--
Publisher: Chicago, IL : Chicago Review Press, [2017]
ISBN: 9781613736968
1613736967
Branch Call Number: HV6248.N588 L83 2017
Characteristics: x, 326 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm

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Maryrobak
May 16, 2018

Insightful presentation of actual Chicago history. For anyone who has seen the Broadway play or movie "Chicago," you have had a glimpse of this world.
This was written so that I could not put it down till finished.

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