Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders, and the Judgment of Mankind

Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders, and the Judgment of Mankind

Bruce Watson

Language: English

Pages: 448

ISBN: 0670063533

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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.

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it. I do not understand any make of cars.” After further questioning, Katzmann asked Sacco point-blank, “Did you ever hear about anything happening in Braintree last month?” “I read in the Boston Post there was bandit—robbing money over near Rice and Hutchins,” Sacco said. He and fellow edge trimmers had discussed the crime on April 16. When Katzmann asked if he had worked the day before, Sacco lied again: “I think I was working the day before I read it in the paper. I don’t remember for sure

electric chair—the prison had executed twenty-two men. Each electrocution began with the eerie hum of high voltage crackling through jail corridors. Each ended at midnight with flickering lights. A few years after Vanzetti arrived, an in de pen dent board would declare the prison “barbaric and antiquated,” but on August 19, 1920, Charlestown’s gates opened for the man who would become world famous within its walls. As he passed through the gates, Vanzetti could glimpse the gray obelisk of the

plan was Katzmann’s. Katzmann swore it was Weiss’s. Whoever cooked up the scheme, it brought Ruzzamenti rushing to Boston. Weiss sent him on to Katzmann’s office, where the DA greeted him and told him about the scheme. Ruzzamenti was to be arrested breaking into a house, then thrown into a cell beside Sacco’s. Somehow he was to get the pacing prisoner to talk, especially about Mike Boda. Ruzzamenti refused, not wanting to acquire an arrest record. Katzmann then lamented that he was “right hard up

Bridgewater housed “paupers,” “drug addicts,” and “defective delinquents.” The lockdown institution featured barred windows, walls of shiny, painted brick, and eight-by-eight cells whose solid doors had peepholes opening onto long, claustrophobic hallways. Of nearly nine hundred inmates listed as insane in 1923, just twenty-eight recovered and were released. Thirty-three died. Yet for Sacco, Bridgewater was a vast improvement over the jail where he considered his food poisoned and guards capable

enlargements of shells and bullets only deepened the dispute. Prosecution and defense experts disagreed on everything, right down to the width of Sacco’s gun barrel. By the winter of 1923, the defense seemed to be winning the battle. When Captain William Proctor swore he had never believed Bullet III had come from Sacco’s gun, the prosecution’s other expert, Captain Van Amburgh, was left hanging out in the breeze. The defense, meanwhile, still had its two trial experts plus an MIT professor and

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