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Swift Justice: Murder & Vengeance In A…

Swift Justice: Murder & Vengeance In A California Town

by Harry Farrell

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The story of the Brooke Hart kidnapping and murder in 1933 was the sensation of not only San Jose, California, but of the entire country at a time when kidnapping for ransom was becoming the crime of choice among brazen criminals. This book was written in 1992, but as far as I know, there isn’t another book which so thoroughly examines this case.
Brooke Hart was a 22-year-old who had just been made vice-president of the department store his father owned in downtown San Jose. He was abducted and then horrifically murdered even before the kidnappers sent their first ransom note. The kidnappers were subsequently captured and a lynch mob hung them in a downtown park.
The writing is pretty pedestrian, but the subject is engrossing, so the pages really fly by. This book spends much focus on the subject of lynching. Was it the right thing to do? Is it ever the right thing to do? Did the state government know beforehand that it was going to happen, and set it up so that there was little interference with the lynching?
Read the book and decide for yourself. ( )
  BooksOn23rd | Nov 25, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312089015, Paperback)

In 1933, a couple of losers kidnapped and killed the son of a department store owner in San Jose, California. Little did they know of the fury they would unleash. The men were captured, and then, just hours after the victim's body was found, a mob stormed the city jail and held "a necktie party" (lynching) in a nearby park. Harry Farrell is a superb writer who researched this case so thoroughly that he has the details to produce an unnerving degree of suspense. He provides ample maps, photos, and reproduced newspaper articles, making it all too easy to visualize the horrifying events. His interviews even include descriptions of the noise of the mob as heard from afar: "a kind of keening that stirred a primeval tingling on the back of my neck." And his account of the politics involved, including the governor's praise for the lynchers, is a shocking denouement to the story. Swift Justice won the 1993 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:47 -0400)

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