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The Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti (Treasury of XXth Century Murder)

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  267 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
The fourth entry in Geary's chronicling of famous XXth century murders tackles the extremely controversial case of Italian immigrants Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Geary delves into his most political case yet in this series, however, all his favorite elements are there: the murders are unsolved, the attention of the media is tremendous, there are multiple theories ...more
Hardcover, 80 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by NBM Publishing
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Sam Quixote
Sep 13, 2011 Sam Quixote rated it really liked it
1920s America, two men murder two other men who are carrying payroll money worth $15,000 and take off with another three accomplices in a car. With no leads, the police end up arresting a pair of Italian-Americans, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, at 10pm in a streetcar who are "suspicious looking" and upon further investigation are found to be heavily armed. Thus begins a complicated court case which exposes the corruption of the American "justice" system and the prejudices of a country ca ...more
Mark Desrosiers
Feb 02, 2012 Mark Desrosiers rated it really liked it
Anarchy in America ain't a circle with "A" in the middle, it's these two stony-faced Italians sitting in the dock. And their death masks. Only one of them -- Bartolomeo Vanzetti -- seems to be an actual martyr. For even in Rick Geary's balanced account of their trial, Sacco comes across (as he always did) as a principled, savvy operator, probably willing to sacrifice his life for anarchy (just compare his eyes to Vanzetti's below). Geary's graphic narrative -- with its noirish crosshatching and ...more
Nicola Mansfield
Oct 02, 2012 Nicola Mansfield rated it really liked it
Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

I have to admit I wasn't looking forward to this one *that* much as I prefer the ones about the bloody serial killers like "Beast of Chicago". I had never heard of this case and the robbery/murder, socialist/anarchist angle didn't get me that excited. Surprisingly though once I started reading I was quite taken with this case, especially the proceedings of the trial and the way the reader is left ruminating whether they were in fact guilty or innocent. It's
3.5 stars - I always enjoy this series. I remember learning about Sacco and Vanzetti in school but could not have told you any details except that there was something fishy about their case and people were upset. It was great to read this and get a refresher on that part of American history.

I think EVERY Middle and High School should have the Rick Geary series in their collections, it's a great way for anyone to familiarize themselves with historical true-crime stories and might even inspire so
Oct 13, 2011 Christiane rated it really liked it
I love these Rick Geary collections! They are such a pleasure to read. They are well-researched (including a bibliography) and well-balanced, but what I really enjoy most is his highly detailed artwork. I didn't know much about the Sacco and Vanzetti murder trial before, but I learned a lot from this book; even if there is still some room for doubt about their innocence, there is no doubt at all that they did not receive a fair trial due to rampant anti-immigrant and anti-anarchist prejudice.
Oct 07, 2011 Sonic rated it really liked it
Though formulaic in his approach to graphic storytelling, I find most of his books to be super compelling and entertaining reads,
as he leads our sympathies back and forth
across facts and clues of victorian murders.
He parcels out the information, making these books very suspenseful
and of course he usually tackles controversial material or rather,
unsolved mysteries.
I consider this dude to be a real craftsman of the graphic medium.
Mar 27, 2012 Erin rated it liked it
Another stellar addition to Rick Geary's treasury of murder series. I had always heard of Sacco and Vanzetti but never did know the history and details of the case. In typical detail Geary lays it out and reveals the many ways the system, and the politics of the day conspired against these two men getting a fair trial. It's particularly chilling when you consider what modern day forensics could have revealed.
Jun 24, 2013 Lindsey rated it liked it
Though I like Rick Geary's style, I wasn't as engaged with this book as his others. It was a lot of legal proceedings. I am glad to have learned about this case, but I enjoyed Geary's other books more.
Jul 06, 2016 Williwaw rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
I picked this up at the local public library a few days ago. I'm a Rick Geary fan, and this was one of his many books that I had not yet read. If you are not familiar with Geary, then I should say that he has created numerous "graphic-novel"-style books which recount famous true crime stories. Geary's style is somewhat sparse: traditional, black & white pen and ink set in rectilinear panels. There's a signature "static" feel to Geary's drawing. Everything tends to look frozen. Nevertheless, ...more
Geary is sympathetic to both men but presents the evidence against them as well as the facts in their favor. Meticulously drawn and mapped as usual.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Rick Geary does it again with another graphic true crime non-fiction book! I'd heard of Sacco and Vanzetti before, but knew nothing about what they did (or were accused of doing). I found this narrative to be a bit confusing, principally because it's a convoluted series of events. Sacco and Vanzetti were two Italian immigrants accused of murdering and robbing two men who were delivering two boxes of pay envelopes to a nearby factory in eastern Massachusetts in 1920. It's really not clear whether ...more
Jan 17, 2016 Eric rated it really liked it
A dry, but intriguing, look into the lives of one of the most infamous instances of injustice in American society. Were Sacco and Vanzetti guilty? With retrospect, it's easy to argue that neither were guilty or that one was and the other simply bit the bullet. However, it's also easy to see that this case was handled very poorly and in an unfair matter simply because of their race and political beliefs.

That said, the book doesn't really wring its hands trying to present the two of them as saints
Im lovin these historically themed graphic novels lately.

This wa pretty cool, but really dry for a graphic novel. Its trying to at least appear very distant and objective from the case. Love the archaic drawing style. Pretty sure the author (like most people) is biased towards the two people. I also come away thinking they were innocent. Its interesting how the two men behaved differently under pressure. Its also no surprise that the stronger man had a virile moustache. Very interesting example
Nov 05, 2012 Jolee rated it it was amazing
I don't know what it is about this series, but I LOOOOVE them all. I take that back -- maybe I *DO* know what it is. I love true crime. Check. I love well-done, non-fiction graphic novels (cartoons? Not so much.) Check. I like materials that strive to project unbiased, fair coverage. Check. And, I love young adult/juvenile titles. Check. I truly can't go wrong with this series. I can't say that this was my favorite in Geary's series, nor can I say anything negative about it. My 5 star ranking ma ...more
I love Rick Geary's graphic novels because of his artistic illustrations which are clean, directed and not visually over-the-top; his text and panel descriptions are easy to understand and worded in a way that without even thinking about it, the reader is thinking about what s/he has just read. I found myself getting disgusted with the judge, the prosecution and defense teams and, the investigation without consideration that it was being offered to me in comic-format!
Apr 03, 2012 Jacqueline rated it it was ok
And interesting case that contains a lot of what ifs. However, I don't feel Geary's cramming information into every available space style fit this particular book. I missed a lot of the story because so much of the blocked in dialog was too small to see. There was also too much going on in the story that I would have liked to have seen it go on for a few more pages. Overall, an interesting book with a few flaws that boys will devour.
Sep 18, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it
Concise graphics and dialogue questioning the guilty verdict of the two immigrant anarchists accused of killing two men in Massachusetts in April 1920. Witnesses and evidence overwhelmingly exonerate the men, but this was at the height of the Red Scare and the Palmer Raids. Judge of the case was determined to find them guilty and evidence was tampered. Seven years of appeals and a global outcry did not save them. Great illustrations to compliment the story.
May 26, 2015 David rated it it was amazing
I thought that this graphic novel was an awesome read. Being that is took place in the 1900's in the New England region, and the two main characters were Italian immigrants. It intrigued me like no other, the discrimination and unfair testament blows minds how it could ever take place. Over all I gave "The Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti" five out of five stars for its overall greatness and pleasure to read. I would most definitely recommend this graphic novel to friends.
Apr 13, 2016 Stef rated it it was ok
Not my favorite of the Rick Geary books. Perhaps that's due to the wholly unsatisfying ending, although that's not really Geary's fault. I do prefer the stories with a little more intrigue about the crime itself (Lizzie Borden, the Bloody Benders) but this one focused more on the trial and the appeals and protests, which was not so interesting to me.
Steven Pattison
Jan 17, 2012 Steven Pattison rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
I am almost certain sacco & vanzetti were innocent - but this book does a great job of detailing point-by-point the crime, case & punishment against of the two men and ultimately leaves it up to the reader to decide what the truth is.
Jun 01, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it
Good graphic novel interpretation of the Sacco and Vanzetti case. The most important aspect of the story was the unfair trial the two got. Book does not answer the question of whether or not the two were guilty, but raise questions on both sides.
Nov 10, 2014 Tom rated it it was ok
The art was very static and not very engaging. The author does give a nice introduction to the evidence in the case, but the constraints of the medium limit the depth he can discuss it. This book works as a quick primer to the case, but it lacks a certain amount of substance.
Carrie Shaurette
Jun 19, 2012 Carrie Shaurette rated it really liked it
I was glued from page one to this account of the controversial trial of Sacco and Vanzetti. While the artwork didn't blow me away, the graphic format lends itself well to clearly portraying the facts of the case.
Apr 05, 2012 Deborah rated it really liked it
Another fantastic true story told by the inimitable Rick Geary. My husband was familiar with the case but I was not. An absolute travesty of justice-whatever happened to "beyond any reasonable doubt"? Read a great graphic novel, learn important history: Win, win!!
A pretty good history of Sacco and Vanzetti. The black & white artwork isn't bad either but nothing outstanding. Three and a half stars.
Apr 11, 2012 Anne rated it liked it
An interesting account of the Sacco and Vanzetti case. Though I'd heard of them, I really didn't know much about the case and the controversy surrounding their trial and conviction.
Aug 06, 2013 Megan rated it really liked it
The art was awesome, but some of the facts were a little off or missing. It was a good overview of the Sacco Vanzetti case and did not advocate either guilt or innocence.
Timothy McNeil
Jul 09, 2014 Timothy McNeil rated it really liked it
Geary presents a clear and concise Cliff's Notes telling of the case. It is informative, but very light on the anarchist movement in Europe that made celebrities of the men.
Jul 19, 2013 Mike rated it liked it
Shelves: comic
3.5 stars. A nice little illustrated history. Nothing ground breaking here either in the art of the story telling. But it was informative and entertaining.
David Bales
Aug 01, 2012 David Bales rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
A very well-organized and thoughtful graphic novel detailing the Sacco and Vanzetti case, pointing out the huge flaws in the prosecution's case as well as the bias of the court.
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RICK GEARY was born in 1946 in Kansas City, Missouri and grew up in Wichita,
Kansas. He graduated from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, where his first cartoons were published in the University Daily Kansan. He worked as staff artist for two weekly papers in Wichita before moving to San Diego in 1975.

He began work in comics in 1977 and was for thirteen years a contributor to the Funny Pages of
More about Rick Geary...

Other Books in the Series

Treasury of XXth Century Murder (6 books)
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  • Famous Players (A Treasury of XXth Century Murder)
  • The Terrible Axe-Man of New Orleans
  • Lovers' Lane: the Hall-Mills Mystery (A Treasury of XXth Century Murder)
  • Madison Square Tragedy: The Murder of Stanford White

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