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Book Review: Worse Than the Devil: Anarchists, Clarence Darrow, and Justice in a Time of Terror

By James Belanger

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On Sept. 9, 1917, 11 Italian immigrants in Milwaukee — 10 men and one woman, all largely illiterate laborers — attended a rally staged by a lapsed Catholic evangelical proselytizer, the Reverend August Giuliani. The crowd was restive and strong words turned into a confrontation with police. Shots were fired and two men died. Police arrested the 11 immigrants and took them to jail to await trial for assault. Eight weeks later, someone placed a homemade bomb at Giuliani’s church. When it was found, unexploded, it was transported to the Milwaukee Police Department where it detonated, killing nine officers and one civilian. A few days after the officers’ funerals, the 11 immigrants went to trial. The immigrants had been in jail for weeks and could not have planted the bomb. Ostensibly they went to trial for assault, but most assuredly and by calculated design they were viewed as anarchists and as a proxy for the killing of the nine police officers.

This is the backdrop for Dea

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