Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders, and the Judgment of Mankind
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In this groundbreaking narrative of one of America?s most divisive trials and executions, award-winning journalist Bruce Watson mines deep archives and newly available sources to paint the most complete portrait available of the ?good shoemaker? and the ?poor fish peddler.? Opening with an explosion that rocks a quiet Washington, D.C., neighborhood and concluding with worldwide outrage as two men are executed despite widespread doubts about their guilt, Sacco & Vanzetti is the definitive history of an infamous case that still haunts the American imagination.
very impressive.” As summer approached, the death throes of the case kept Boston on an uneasy watch. Governor Fuller, laboring fourteen-hour days, was interviewing the trial’s principles—J. J. McAnarney, Michael Levangie, five jurors one day, two more the next. Leaving the governor’s office, each met a pack of reporters. Each refused comment, spawning gossip about what secrets might have been revealed. The defense committee sent telegrams to Los Angeles calling Fred Moore back to Boston, but
of force from the world.” Then Vanzetti, his dark eyes brimming, said, “clear my name.” No one knows what Thompson replied, but he advised the anarchist to make a public statement against violent retaliation. Vanzetti hesitated. History had shown him that “every great cause for the benefit of humanity had had to fight for its existence.” Should seven years of unrelenting cruelty go unpunished? Talk then turned to Christ’s crucifixion. (Thompson would later say Vanzetti was the most Christlike
Judge Thayer admitted the cap. With test results from Sacco’s Colt still pending, the prosecution turned to Vanzetti’s gun. Eleven days had passed since Jimmy Bostock had told of seeing Berardelli with a gun five days before his death. Now a silver snub-nosed .38 was held up for all to see. Berardelli’s gun, the prosecution maintained, had been stolen from the dying guard. It was the gun found on Vanzetti. But no witnesses had seen either gunman take the guard’s revolver. How did anyone know
of his virtue, however, and their dueling personalities still cast doubt on Sacco and Vanzetti. If, as Vanzetti wrote, “each individual has two ‘I’s,’ the real one and the ideal,” then in these individuals the real and the ideal waged constant warfare. Like their fellow Anarchist Fighters, Sacco and Vanzetti believed in armed insurrection. They saw sporadic violence as righteous retaliation against those who had jailed, deported, and killed their comrades on picket lines and in protests. A few
occasional money orders, the grieving Gian Batista Vanzetti wrote that he could not imagine never seeing “Caro mio Barto” again. A year after his arrival, Vanzetti fled New York, “the immense hell pit of the poor and paradise of the rich,” and took a steamer up the Connecticut River to Hartford. Following a friend into the rolling countryside, he sought handiwork on farms but found little. Finally, the men headed for cities where they joined Italian workers toiling all day, rollicking all night.