Twentieth-Century Cause Caelaebre: Sacco, Vanzetti, and the Press, 1920-1927

By John F. Neville | Go to book overview

Epilogue

23 Agosto 1927
Nicola Sacco Bartolomeo Vanzetti
Anarchici Innocenti
ASSASSINATI

From a fading wall poster commemorating the 75th anniversary of
the executions of Sacco and Vanzetti spotted by the author in
a side street in Florence, Italy, in October 2003

At the funeral, Mary Donovan described the legacy of Sacco and Vanzetti as a betrayal, a peculiarly tragic American loss of innocence. That Miltonian sentiment—poignant, bitter, cerebral—fitted into the liberal, rather one-dimensional paradigm that defined the case for sixty years. In a way that Donovan could not have realized, arguably Sacco-Vanzetti was more about loss of another type of innocence: manipulation of the news media, various government agencies, and a sometimes credulous public.

Willi Münzenberg could not have asked for a better historical denouement. Nevertheless, from his office in Berlin, the undersized but vibrant propaganda chief could take considerable pride from an international cause that would burn in the minds of the righteously outraged and guiltstricken for decades. Almost everything went right: the historical timing of the trial, the issue of radicalism gratuitously injected into the transcript, the defense lawyer with his connections to anarchist and labor movements, and the worldwide ascendancy of various radical movements,

-141-

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Twentieth-Century Cause Caelaebre: Sacco, Vanzetti, and the Press, 1920-1927
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - Secrets: the Galleanisti 1
  • 2 - The Trial 27
  • 3 - Appeals and Cocaine 43
  • 4 - Deus Ex Machina: Zola Redux 57
  • 5 - The Long Good-Bye 85
  • 6 - A Cardinal Calamity 109
  • 7 - Pilate on the Boston Train 113
  • Epilogue 141
  • Notes 155
  • Select Bibliography 173
  • Index 179
  • About the Author 191
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