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Preview — Sacco and Vanzetti by Bruce Watson
Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders, and the Judgment of Mankind
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-...more
Even after 80 years, claims Bruce Watson, the prejudice and injustice that sentenced Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti to death "haunt American history." Though he presents no new evidence, Watson uses extensive research to offer a judicious and compelling description of the trial and its far-reaching aftermath. Only the Wall Street Journal, which nevertheless described Watson's narrative as "vivid" and "smoothly written," complained that he distorted or ignored facts to suit his "liberal con...more
The author plays an even hand and shows how the politicization of the trial prevented the men from a just outcome, which would have been a second trial under an impartial judge. One side claims that the trial was fa...more
I find it interesting that one could also say about Bruce Watson's monograph that Sacco and Vanzetti is two books: one that contextualizes the trial with Amer...more
I was reminded of this during the Zimmerman Trial which prompted this review. Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder. Regardless of what people may think of his guilt or innocence, if you are going to convict someone for murder you must P...more
The Watson book did make clearer the culpability of Judge Webster Thayer, as opposed to the jury--many of whom seem to have genuinely believed the perplexing ballistics "evidence."
Previously, I had thought that one or both may have be...more
Watson writes a largely sympathetic account about Sacco and Vanzetti; he includes a history of the anarchist movement in Italy and the US in the 1920s, which was pretty interesting to me. Watson also has some harsh words for the Boston community who trea...more
In June 2010, Freedom Summer: The Savage Season that Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy was published by Viking. From sharecropper shacks to the halls of Congress, the book details the turning point summer of 1964 when 700 young Americans...more