The Sewing Girl’s Tale: A Story of Crime and Consequences in Revolutionary America

Holt. Jul. 2022. 384p. ISBN 9781250761965. $29.99. CRIME
An engrossing, historical, true crime narrative that reconstructs the 1793 rape of Lanah Sawyer. The subsequent trial of Henry “Harry” Bedlow and the societal consequences of the crime are still relevant today. Sweet (Bodies Politic) provides an exhaustively researched and detailed reconstruction of a lesser known but extremely important case in American legal history. The book not only provides a masterful view of the criminal case, but it also places the narrative in the context of 18th century New York City, with a searing portrait of sexual politics and the limits of justice for women and those in low-income areas. The well-documented work includes a variety of primary sources including newspaper accounts, legal documents, and diaries. It also includes numerous illustrations, maps, an extensive bibliography, and an index.
VERDICT An important and highly readable addition to the history of crime and sexual politics in America that will be of interest to historians, women-focused history researchers, sociologists, and fans of true crime.
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