FC 89 In Search of Sacco & Vanzetti with Susan Tejada

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Susan Tejada, the author of the book In Search of Sacco and Vanzetti: Double Lives, Troubled Times and the Massachusetts Murder Case that Shook the World.

Bio – Susan Tejada

Susan Tejada is a former writer and editor at the National Geographic Society, where she In Search of Sacco & Vanzetti with Susan Tejada on Fieldstone Commonwas editor-in-chief of National Geographic World magazine and authored and edited geography books for young readers. She was previously the associate editor of EPA Journal, reporting on environmental issues. A native of Providence, Rhode Island, she has taught non-fiction writing for young readers at the Highlights Foundation summer Writers’ Workshops in Chautauqua, New York.

Tejada received a research fellowship from The Lilly Library of Indiana University for In Search of Sacco and Vanzetti. The book is the recipient of the 2013 Independent Publisher Book Award gold medal for true crime.

 Book Summary

It was a bold and brutal crime–robbery and murder in broad daylight on the streets of South Braintree, Massachusetts, in 1920. Tried for the crime and convicted, two Italian-born laborers, anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, went to the electric chair in 1927, professing their innocence. Journalist Susan Tejada has spent years investigating the case, sifting through diaries and police reports and interviewing descendants of major figures. She discovers little-known facts about Sacco, Vanzetti, and their supporters, and develops a tantalizing theory about how a doomed insider may have been coerced into helping professional criminals plan the heist.

Tejada’s close-up view of the case allows readers to see those involved as individual personalities. She also paints a fascinating portrait of a bygone era: Providence gangsters and Boston Brahmins; nighttime raids and midnight bombings; and immigration, unionism, draft dodging, and violent anarchism in the turbulent early years of the twentieth century. In many ways this is as much a cultural history as a true-crime mystery or courtroom drama. Because the case played out against a background of domestic terrorism, in a time that echoes our own, we have a new appreciation of the potential connection between fear and the erosion of civil liberties and miscarriages of justice.

Publication InfoIn Search of Sacco & Vanzetti with Susan Tejada on Fieldstone Common

Title: In Search of Sacco and Vanzetti: Double Lives, Troubled Times and the Massachusetts Murder Case that Shook the World

Publisher: University Press of New England (2012)

Hard Cover; 386 pages with end notes, selected bibliography, index and some photos.

In Search of Sacco and Vanzetti: Double Lives, Troubled Times and the Massachusetts Murder Case that Shook the World is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

The Interview

In this interview Susan and I discuss the complex case of Sacco & Vanzetti amidst the tumultuous times of the early 20th century complete with the end of WWI, the Red Scare, Anarchism, the rise of the labor movement and an anti-immigrant backlash. Were Sacco & Vanzetti guilty of robbery and murder or were they the unwilling victims of their times? We dig into some surprising evidence!

Prize Winner

One copy of In Search of Sacco and Vanzetti: Double Lives, Troubled Times and the Massachusetts Murder Case that Shook the World is given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of the University Press of New England.

The winner is:

  • To be announced next week

Congratulations to our winner and thanks to the University Press of New England for their generosity in donating the book!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

The Direct Link to this post is
http://www.fieldstonecommon.com/sacco-vanzetti-susan-tejada

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FC 76 Dark Tide with Stephen Puleo

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Stephen Puleo, author of the book Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919.

Bio – Stephen Puleo

Stephen Puleo is an author, historian, university teacher, public speaker, and communications professional. His books include

In 2008, Steve was the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award, presented by the Appian Club, an Italian-American organization dedicated to preserving and promoting Italian culture in Massachusetts. In 2007, he received the prestigious i migliori award, presented by the Pirandello Lyceum to Italian-Americans who have excelled in their fields of endeavor and made important contributions to society.

A former award-winning newspaper reporter and contributor of feature stories and book reviews to American History magazine and the Boston Globe, Puleo holds a master’s degree in history, for which he received the Dean’s Award for Academic Achievement, and was the Graduate Convocation keynote speaker. He teaches at Suffolk University in Boston.

You can learn more about Stephen Puelo at his author website, www.stephenpuleo.com. You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Book Summary

Around noon on January 15, 1919, a group of firefighters was playing cards in Boston’s North End when they heard a tremendous crash. It was like roaring surf, one of them said later. Like a runaway two-horse team smashing through a fence, said another. A third firefighter jumped up from his chair to look out a window-“Oh my God!” he shouted to the other men, “Run!”

A 50-foot-tall steel tank filled with 2.3 million gallons of molasses had just collapsed on Boston’s waterfront, disgorging its contents as a 15-foot-high wave of molasses that at its outset traveled at 35 miles an hour. It demolished wooden homes, even the brick fire station. The number of dead wasn’t known for days. It would be years before a landmark court battle determined who was responsible for the disaster.

Book InfoDark Tide with Stephen Puleo on Fieldstone Common

Title: Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919

Publisher: Beacon Press (2003)

Trade Paperback; 273 pages with bibliographic essay, an index and some BxW photos.

Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

The Interview

Dark Tide is so much more than just a book about a very unusual molasses flood. The book is set against the backdrop of WWI, the coming of prohibition and prejudice against immigrants. Steve and I talk about the building of the tank and how the political situation allowed it to be built in one of the most densely populated places in the United States. Steve reads a passage from one of the poignant moments at the bedside of a victim after the flood. We talk about the heros and the villains of the story and how the current events impacted their decisions. And lets not forget the anarchists! Sometimes we think that are current events are unique to us but this book proves that history repeats itself and we are none the wiser.

Prize Winners

One copy of Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 was given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of Beacon Press.

The winner is:

  • Victor Jones of North Carolina

Congratulations to our winner and thanks to Beacon Press for their generosity in donating the book!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

The Direct Link to this post is www.fieldstonecommon.com/dark-tide-stephen-puleo

News & Announcements

BIG NEWS for Android users! Fieldstone Common is now available in the Android app Stitcher. Stitcher is a program like iTunes but is available on the Android platform. Download Stitcher and search for Fieldstone Common or click here.

Question: What’s that’s new stuff in the Fieldstone Common title (FC 76)?

Answer: That makes it easier, especially for iTunes and other podcast listeners, to keep track of which episode they are listening to. FC stands for Fieldstone Common and 76 is the number of the episode.

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