On a hot August night in 1944, a soldier’s body was discovered hanging by a rope from a cable spanning an obstacle course at Seattle’s Fort Lawton. The body was identified as Private Guglielmo Olivotto, one of the thousands of Italian prisoners of war captured and brought to America.
The murder stunned the nation and the international community. Under pressure to respond quickly, the War Department convened a criminal trial at the fort, charging three African American soldiers with the lynching and firstdegree murder of Private Olivotto. Forty other soldiers were charged with rioting, accused of storming the Italian barracks on the night of the murder. All forty-three soldiers were black. There was no evidence implicating any of these men. Leon Jaworski, later the lead prosecuter at the Watergate trial, was appointed to prosecute the case and seek the death penalty for three men who were most assuredly innocent.
Through his access to previously classified documents and the information gained from extensive interviews, journalist Jack Hamann tells the whole story behind World War II’s largest army court-martial—a story that raises important questions about how justice is carried out when a country is at war.
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The injustice revealed in ON AMERICAN SOIL inspired Rep. Jim McDermott to introduce HR 3174, a bill demanding that the Secretary of the Army revisit the infamous Fort Lawton court-martial.
The bill has dozens of co-sponsors, and was assigned to the House Armed Services Committee.From the Back Cover:
In August 1944, one of the largest staging areas for American soldiers headed to the Pacific was Fort Lawton, an army base in Seattle. The army was segregated then, and the barracks housing the African American troops were isolated from the rest of the fort. Just yards away stood the barracks of a compnay of Italian prisoners of war, also segregated. The violent death of one of these prisoners launched the largest and longest army court-martial of World War II. The events surrounding this extraordinary trial—all but buried for more than a half century—are now recounted in this harrowing story of race, privilege, and power.
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Book Description Algonquin Books, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, U.S.A., 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. This Is A New Book. Book. Bookseller Inventory # 080860
Book Description Algonquin Books, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111565123948
Book Description Algonquin Books. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1565123948 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0658499
Book Description Algonquin Books, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX1565123948