In Search of Sacco and Vanzetti
It was a bold and brutal crime—robbery and murder in broad daylight on the streets of South Braintree, Massachusetts, in 1920. Tried for the crime and convicted, two Italian-born laborers, anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, went to the electric chair in 1927, professing their innocence. Journalist Susan Tejada has spent years investigating the case, sifting through diaries and police reports and interviewing descendants of major figures. She discovers little-known facts about Sacco, Vanzetti, and their supporters, and develops a tantalizing theory about how a doomed insider may have been coerced into helping professional criminals plan the heist.The author takes a panoramic view of the case, allowing the reader to see the personalities as individuals. She also paints a fascinating portrait of a bygone era: Providence gangsters and Boston Brahmins; nighttime raids and midnight bombings; and immigration, unionism, draft dodging, and violent anarchism in the turbulent early years of the twentieth century. In many ways this is as much a cultural history as a true-crime mystery or courtroom drama. Because the case played out against a background of domestic terrorism, in a time that echoes our own, we have a new appreciation of the potential connection between fear and the erosion of civil liberties and miscarriages of justice.

In Search of Sacco and Vanzetti Details

TitleIn Search of Sacco and Vanzetti
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 1st, 2012
PublisherUniversity Press of New England
ISBN-139781555537784
Rating
GenreCrime, True Crime, History, Nonfiction, Mystery, Law

In Search of Sacco and Vanzetti Review

  • Brent
    January 1, 1970
    I had heard the names Sacco and Vanzetti but knew nothing about their case before reading this book. These men were Italian immigrants to the U.S. in the early 1900's who became committed Anarchists and draft dodgers during WWI. They were tried, convicted and sentenced to death for murders that occurred during a payroll robbery in 1920. The book provides a fairly detailed account of the backgrounds of these men, the crime for which they were convicted, their trial, appeals, and ultimate executio I had heard the names Sacco and Vanzetti but knew nothing about their case before reading this book. These men were Italian immigrants to the U.S. in the early 1900's who became committed Anarchists and draft dodgers during WWI. They were tried, convicted and sentenced to death for murders that occurred during a payroll robbery in 1920. The book provides a fairly detailed account of the backgrounds of these men, the crime for which they were convicted, their trial, appeals, and ultimate executions, and the subsequent histories of their families, supporters and opponents. I was left with significant doubt as to their guilt of the crime for which they were executed. It seems more likely they were railroaded because of their political beliefs and prejudice against them as immigrants.
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  • Grady Ormsby
    January 1, 1970
    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. The more things change, the more they stay the same. On August 23, 1927, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed in the electric chair in Charlestown State Prison in Boston, Massachusetts. They had been convicted of armed robbery of the payroll of the Slater-Morrill Shoe Company in Braintree, Massachusetts, on April 15, 1920. They were also convicted of the murder of a paymaster and a guard. The notes and bibliography of In Search of Sacco and Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. The more things change, the more they stay the same. On August 23, 1927, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed in the electric chair in Charlestown State Prison in Boston, Massachusetts. They had been convicted of armed robbery of the payroll of the Slater-Morrill Shoe Company in Braintree, Massachusetts, on April 15, 1920. They were also convicted of the murder of a paymaster and a guard. The notes and bibliography of In Search of Sacco and Vanzetti: Double Lives, Through Troubled Times & the Massachusetts Murder Case That Shook the World by Susan Tejada cover sixty pages, citing interviews, electronic sources, newspapers, statutes of the United States, oral histories, books, articles, pamphlets as well as unpublished sources from archives. I mention this not as a comment on the thoroughness of her investigation but as an indication of how much material there is available to be plowed through. This case has been written about, studied, analyzed, revisited, examined, scrutinized, dissected, explored and probed for almost an entire century. Two mysteries remain: Were Sacco and Vanzetti guilty? And if they did not commit the crimes, who did? We may never really know. One thing we do know, however, and what Tejada makes abundantly clear, is that the case represents a miscarriage of justice and a giant failure of the American justice system. In an era characterized by gun violence, terrorism, immigration, unionism, draft dodging, anarchism and political turmoil the country was divided by a case that stirred up the worst in many: prejudice, fear, xenophobia, revenge, scapegoating, ambition and judicial arrogance. In today’s headlines we see many of these same features in our current society. As a nation we continue to struggle with trying to achieve a balance between questions of security and the preservation of civil liberties. In Search of Sacco and Vanzetti is a crime story, a courtroom drama, a cultural history as well as a depiction of the political situation in America in the early Twentieth Century. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
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  • Dan
    January 1, 1970
    A very detailed account of the famous Sacco and Vanzetti trial in Massachusetts. Set at the beginning of the Red Scare, with a justice system focused on convicting two anarchists of a armed robbery. The conclusion to draw is they didn't do it, the judge, prosecution and police conspired to convict, "Radicals" because of the civil unrest that was occurring in America. The notorious Morelli gang more than likely committed the crimes. Interesting book on American history.
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  • BRT
    January 1, 1970
    When I was in middle school, I read a slim paperback and was introduced to the tragedy of Sacco & Vanzetti. Their story stuck with me through the years so I was interested to read this book. This is an extremely well researched and reported account of the lives of the major players in this travesty of justice. The author makes several attempts to tie the historical events to modern day events but they seem forced and jarring in this otherwise comprehensive book.
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  • Randy Ross
    January 1, 1970
    This non-fiction book has me hooked like a good novel. The last non-fiction book I liked this much was "A Civil Action." Whether the story takes place in the Charlestown jail or streets of South Braintree or the court room, the I feel like I'm there. There's lots of great personal detail on the lives and loves of the Sacco and Vanzetti. Moving. Disturbing. Great read.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Before reading this book, I didn't really know anything about Sacco & Vanzetti aside from the fact that they were executed. For years, their guilt has been debated and this book breaks the crime, trial, and aftermath down step by step as it tries to ascertain if Sacco & Vanzetti were killers or scapegoats. Written really well and completely engrossing.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Really enjoyed this. One of those tales that keeps you in suspense despite the fact that you know what is going to happen. All the personalities, the lawyers the judges the accused themselves, all contribute in their way to what was probably a terrible miscarriage of justice.
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    I first heard about Sacco and Vanzetti on Jeopardy. I didn't recall the murder case that shook the world. My son knew about them. My history teacher friend enlightened me. So I went to the library and checked this Tejada book. I was hooked. The book is as relevant today as in 1920.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    A miscarriage of justice thoroughly researched, this book was sad to read. But as the author noted, we have many of the same problems in our society today.
  • Scott Bartis
    January 1, 1970
    ExcellentVery readable yet informative and thought provoking.
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