Worse than the Devil: Anarchists, Clarence Darrow, and Justice in a Time of Terror

Dean A. Strang. Univ. of Wisconsin, $26.95 (280p) ISBN 978-0-299-293-94-9
Strang, a criminal defense lawyer and professor of law, examines the dramatic case of the Bay View Eleven, a group of Italian immigrants arrested after a Milwaukee riot in 1917. In this in-depth study, he analyzes how their trial, coming on the heels of a police station bombing, was grossly mismanaged and sensationalized—essentially acting as proxy for the other tragedy. From an "ineffectual" judge to feuding lawyers in a system biased against Italians, all cards were stacked against the defendants. Strang covers every aspect of the case in exhaustive, sometimes lurid, detail, drawing in outlying factors such as the anarchist Emma Goldman, the renowned lawyer Clarence Darrow, the mass trial of the IWW, and the unrelated bombing which played such a pivotal role. Accessible if prone to purple prose, Strang paints a convincing and critical picture of the events in question, illuminating this moment in American history and justice. The result is an expose of a corrupt, confusing, much-abused system during a time lacking in oversight, bound to be of interest to scholars and hobbyists alike. 20 b/w photos. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/22/2013
Release date: 03/01/2013
Open Ebook - 280 pages - 978-0-299-29393-2
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-299-30914-5
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