Sacco and Vanzetti: The Case Resolved

Francis Russell, Author HarperCollins Publishers $16.95 (245p) ISBN 978-0-06-015524-7
In 1960, when historian Russell (Adams: An American Dynasty, etc.) began to write an account of the famous 1920s case involving two Italian-born anarchists accused of robbery and murder, he shared the widespread assumption that Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were innocent and their execution unjust. However, he explains, research convinced him that Sacco, at least, was guilty; Tragedy in Dedham, published in 1962, reflected that belief. This new book explains how Russell arrived at his revisionist stance through the reading of FBI files, papers of the fact-finding Lowell Committee hearings and new ballistic evidence. Accounts of contemporary witnesses and the trial transcripts, he avers, refute the contention of such partisans as Felix Frankfurter that the trial was unfair and the prosecutors corrupt. Conclusive proof of Sacco's guilt, the author alleges, lies in revelations and documents presented to him by a member of the indicted men's defense committee. The book brings a large cast of characters to life and evokes the Massachusetts society and ambience in which the infamous seven-year trial took place. (April 16)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1986
Release date: 03/01/1986
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