The riveting true story of one of the nation's most infamous trials and executions
When the state of Massachusetts electrocuted Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti on August 23, 1927, it concluded one of the most controversial legal cases in American history. In the eight decades since, debate has raged over what was probably a miscarriage of justice.
In the first full-length narrative of the case in thirty years, Bruce Watson unwinds a gripping tale that opens with anarchist bombs going off in a posh Washington, D.C., neighborhood and concludes with worldwide outrage over the execution of the "good shoemaker" and the "poor fish peddler." Sacco and Vanzetti mines deep archives and new sources, unveiling fresh details about these naive dreamers and militant revolutionaries. This case still haunts the American imagination. Authoritative and engrossing, Sacco and Vanzetti will capture fans of true crime books and everyone who enjoys riveting American history.
Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are among the most famous political martyrs of 20th-century America, convicted of murder by a Massachusetts jury and executed in 1929. Watson (Bread and Roses) expertly runs through the facts of the case and the basic legal injustices perpetrated against the two men, beginning with their arrest on suspicion of a payroll robbery up to their electrocution, without agitating for either end of the political spectrum. He carefully establishes the context of anarchist terrorism that stirred public sentiment against the two admittedly radical defendants--including the judge at their trial, who made numerous prejudicial remarks outside the courtroom. Fellow radicals (and many moderate liberals) were outraged by the proceedings, but Watson observes that most Americans were too caught up in the amusement park mentality of the 1920s to care about them--a conclusion slightly at odds with the passionate debate to this day over their guilt. Watson quotes extensively from Sacco and Vanzetti's letters, with their imperfect English, to flesh out their personalities (he has also written an introduction to a new Penguin Classics edition of the correspondence). 16 pages of b&w photos. (Aug. 20)
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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August 15, 2007
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