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The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti: A Critical Analysis for Lawyers and Laymen by Felix Frankfurter (34,000 words)

Sacco and Vanzetti case is probably America’s most controversial court case. One of the most important studies of the case was made by Justice Felix Frankfurter when he was a professor of administrative law at Harvard. It created considerable stir when initially published in 1927. The book was praised and attacked; it was considered “thrilling,” “uncomfortable,” “lucid” and “judicious.” It was destined to become somewhat of a classic in American juridical literature.

“The author... has gone through the record of the successive court proceedings, covering thousands of pages of printed matter, and on it has based this judicial résumé... he makes a survey of the case that is wonderfully compact, but complete enough to bring together all the essential developments and present them in a lucid, readable narrative.” —
The New York Times

“Mr. Frankfurter has very comprehensively analyzed the trial of these two condemned murderers, and a careful study compels the experienced lawyer to stand aghast at the result obtained under the absolute disregard for the rules of evidence and the conduct of a trial by a jurist who is supposed to be without prejudice or partiality.” — Edwin M. Abbott,
Journal of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology

“[Felix Frankfurter’s] book on the Sacco-Vanzetti case is a real contribution to the cause of Free Speech; it is, moreover, a thriller... Every lawyer ought to read this slender but powerful volume.” — Morris L. Ernst,
The Yale Law Journal

“This small volume of barely more than a hundred pages should be read by lawyer and by layman. The reader will then know how the guaranties of justice and liberty may crumble under the destructive influence of class complacency.” — Charles Nagel,
Harvard Law Review

“Felix Frankfurter in his book mercilessly analyzes both the record of the trial and the affidavits summarizing the after-discovered evidence upon which a new trial was sought... None can read Frankfurter’s able brief without an inner conviction that the defendants are innocent.” — Charles I. Thompson,
University of Pennsylvania Law Review and American Law Register

“This compelling account will remain an important document in the history of what has become one of the outstanding cases in the annals of criminal justice... [Professor Frankfurter] deserves credit for the courage with which he undertook a task which in the community in which he lives was thankless and unpopular.” — Ernst Freund,
Social Service Review

“The whole account is set forth in a manner likely not only to capture but to hold the interest of the reader. Besides having been demonstrated, by the attacks upon it, to be reliable, it is no exaggeration to say that the book is really thrilling.” — E. W. Puttkammer,
American Journal of Sociology