Doomed: Sacco, Vanzetti & the End of the American Dream

Roaring Brook. Jan. 2023. 208p. Tr $20.99. ISBN 9781250621931.
Gr 8 Up–With letters, interview transcripts, newspaper headlines, and historic images, Florio and Shapiro here tell the story of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti in this compelling history for young adult readers. Sacco and Vanzetti, Italian immigrants, were arrested and wrongfully convicted for murder. What makes this book a masterpiece is the vividness of the descriptions of the South Braintree, MA, armed robbery that led to the duo’s arrests, the sensational and much-covered trial, and the media campaign and political advocacy that followed in the wake of their convictions. While the many names, legal terms, and dates associated with this account of one of the most famous trials of the 20th century may prove somewhat confusing, this narrative—which begins with an action-packed recounting of the robbery and ends with a compassionate evocation of the men’s funerals and the tragic aftermath of their executions for both their loved ones and the nation as a whole—strikes the right pace and tone to engage younger readers. A detailed bibliography was included in the reviewer’s copy, and an index will be in the final publication.
VERDICT This true crime history is highly recommended for library collections serving upper junior high and high school readers.

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