June 13, 2012 Case of Sacco and Vanzetti Is Subject of Book Discussion

Italian Anarchists Professed Innocence Until Their Deaths

Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

It was a bold and brutal crime: robbery and murder in broad daylight on the streets of South Braintree, Mass., 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 in the Library of Congress and elsewhere investigating the case, sifting through diaries and police reports and interviewing descendants of its 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 will discuss and sign her new work, “In Search of Sacco and Vanzetti: Double Lives, Troubled Times and the Massachusetts Murder Case That Shook the World” (Northeastern University Press, 2012), on Thursday, June 21, at noon in the Mary Pickford Theater, located on the third floor of the Library of Congress James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. This Books & Beyond event is co-sponsored by the Library’s Center for the Book and its Manuscript Division. It is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

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 20th 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, it offers a new appreciation of the potential connection between fear and the erosion of civil liberties and miscarriages of justice.

Tejada is a former writer and editor at the National Geographic Society, where she was the editor-in-chief of National Geographic World magazine and the author or managing editor of geography books for young readers. A native of Providence, R.I., she served with the Peace Corps in the Philippines.

Since its creation by Congress in 1977 to “stimulate public interest in books and reading,” the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress (www.Read.gov/cfb/) has become a national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages, nationally and internationally. The center provides leadership for affiliated state centers for the book (including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and nonprofit reading- promotion partners and plays a key role in the Library’s annual National Book Festival. It also oversees the Library’s Read.gov website and administers the Library’s Young Readers Center.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. It seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov .

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PR 12-122
2012-06-13
ISSN 0731-3527