Boston: Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee, 1927. First Edition. Stiff Wrappers. First (and only) Printing of this official report of the Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee, written by Dos Passos after visiting the two accused in Massachusetts prisons. Demy 8vo (214 x 147mm): 128p. Original stiff olive drab wrappers printed in black. Trivial creasing to lower rear corner, covers very lightly marked, but a fresh copy, tightly bound. Potter 10. Fine-. Item #BB2297
Parts of chapters vi-viii appeared originally in New Masses (August, 1926) as "The Pit and the Pendulum." The highly controversial conviction of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti for murder became a rallying cry for American radicals in the early twentieth century. The two immigrants were accused in 1920 of killing a paymaster in a holdup. Although the evidence against them was flimsy, and despite international protests, they were executed on August 23, 1927. Dos Passos became deeply involved in the case, concluding that it was "barely possible" that Sacco might have committed murder as part of a class war, but that the softhearted Vanzetti was clearly innocent. "Nobody in his right mind who was planning such a crime would take a man like that along." In the fall of 1920, Dos Passos joined the Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee and wrote this official review of the case, which argues that the accused received an unfair, prejudiced trial. Following publication, Dos Passos joined other writers and artists, including Katherine Anne Porter, Lola Ridge, Paxton Hibben, Mike Gold, Helen O’Lochlain Crowe, James Rorty, Edna St. Vincent Millay, William Gropper, and Grace Lumpkin, on a picket line in Boston, where he was arrested and briefly jailed. “I had seceded privately the night Sacco and Vanzetti were executed,” Dos Passos wrote in The Theme is Freedom, in 1956, “I wasn’t joining anybody. I had seceded into my private conscience like Thoreau in Concord jail.” N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, carefully preserved in archival, removable mylar sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. (Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics.).