Friday, April 26, 2013
Worse than the Devil: Anarchists, Clarence Darrow and Justice in a Time of Terror (University of Wisconsin Press), by Dean A. Strang
The bomb that tore through a Milwaukee police station in 1917, killing 10, coincided with the trial of 11 Italian immigrants from Bay View, accused anarchists, on unrelated charges. As Marquette University law professor Dean Strang shows in Worse than the Devil, their trial became a proxy for the police station bombing, a miscarriage of justice reversed in appeal by dubious means. A beautifully written account of Milwaukee a century ago, as well as a fair appraisal of the political passions of those times in light of recent research, Strang approaches his subject with the skill of a sympathetic storyteller. As the author is keen to mention, the trial of foreigners with unconventional ideas during times of international tension is a recurring theme in America's history.