FC 89 In Search of Sacco & Vanzetti with Susan Tejada
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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 was 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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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This is yet another book to add to my “to-read” list. The Dedham jail where Sacco and Vanzetti were held was empty for a number of years after the new Norfolk County jail was built in the early 1990s and then made into upscale condominiums in 2003. My mother lived there for over ten years, until moving earlier this year. The foyer of the building includes some historical pictures, including one of Sacco and Vanzetti, just so the current residents are reminded of the former residents.
I enjoyed this interview, having grown up in Dedham and knowing the Dedham jail, which has been condominiums since 2003. My mother lived there for over ten years, moving out this past winter.
Absolutely fascinating! Can’t wait to read the book now. Have heard the names for years, but had no idea what the story really was. Thanks for the presentation.
Marian, I have heard the Sacco & Vanzetti names but didn’t really know who they were. This sounds like a must read for me. My paternal great grandfather was from Italy and lived in Quincy, Massachusetts during the time of Sacco & Vanzetti. I think this book would be a really good way to understand those times. Christine
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