cover image The Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti

The Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti

Rick Geary. NBM Comics Lit (, $15.99 (216p) ISBN 978-1-56163-605-1

Geary continues his campaign to use graphic novels to present complicated historical cases in a manner both clear and suspenseful with this look at the famous, controversial case. Geary lays out what is known and not known about the case, in which two Italian anarchist immigrants were put to death after being found guilty of robbery and murder. The carefully constructed narrative not only details the events of the crime, manhunt, and trial but also includes information about the lives of Sacco and Vanzetti and their families. The duo shared anarchist beliefs%E2%80%94creating suspicion in an era upset by the Russian revolution and the rise of communism. An unsympathetic judge rejected evidence favorable to the pair, and their execution sparked protests worldwide. Geary's linear black and white illustrations, full of straight lines and right angles, are especially helpful in lending order to the confusing and often contradictory facts. His use of maps also helps explain the events, both of the killing and the worldwide response. Geary, a cartoonist with the soul of a historian, reaches no easy conclusions, but gives readers the tools to draw their own. (Aug.)