Black, White, Blue: The Assassination of Patrolman Sackett

Minnesota Historical Society
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A white police officer is assassinated in a troubled St. Paul neighborhood. Thirty-six years later, two African American grandfathers are convicted in controversial trials that force a city to relive its contentious past.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Minnesota Historical Society
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Published on
Dec 31, 2012
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Pages
251
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ISBN
9780873518710
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Violence in Society
True Crime / Murder / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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At 9:00 on the morning of March 6, 1963, in the quiet St. Paul neighborhood of Highland Park, Mrs. Fritz Pearson glanced out her window and saw something almost unimaginable: slumped on the front steps of the home across the street was a woman, partially clothed in a blue bathrobe and bloodied beyond recognition. The woman, Mrs. Pearson would come to learn, was her beloved neighbor Carol Thompson, wife and mother of four. Earlier that morning, T. Eugene Thompson, known to friends as "Cotton," dropped his son off at school and headed to the office, where he worked as a criminal attorney. At 8:25 am, he phoned home, later telling police that he did so to confirm evening plans with Carol. Mr. Thompson lied. Through police records, court transcripts, family papers, and extensive interviews, William Swanson has re-created Middle America's "crime of the century," the deadly plot by a husband that made headlines around the world. But "Dial M: The Murder of Carol Thompson "also tracks the lives of the Thompsons' children. Their journey from disbelief to acceptance culminates in a private family trial where they decide whether their father truly was responsible for the violent act that crushed their childhood and forever altered their views of the world.
"Engrossing, emotionally compelling. . . . An unlikely tale of resilience and redemption, told in a sensitive, straightforward fashion."--"Entertainment Weekly" (graded "A") "I have never read a book that dealt so expertly and dramatically with the private lives of those who survive incomprehensible tragedy. I highly recommend it."--Ann Rule, author of "Green River, Running Red
"William Swanson, a senior editor at "Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, " has written and edited for various publications in the Twin Cities and elsewhere for more than 30 years.
Christopher R. Browning’s shocking account of how a unit of average middle-aged Germans became the cold-blooded murderers of tens of thousands of Jews—now with a new afterword and additional photographs.

Ordinary Men is the true story of Reserve Police Battalion 101 of the German Order Police, which was responsible for mass shootings as well as round-ups of Jewish people for deportation to Nazi death camps in Poland in 1942. Browning argues that most of the men of RPB 101 were not fanatical Nazis but, rather, ordinary middle-aged, working-class men who committed these atrocities out of a mixture of motives, including the group dynamics of conformity, deference to authority, role adaptation, and the altering of  moral norms to justify their actions. Very quickly three groups emerged within the battalion: a core of eager killers, a plurality who carried out their duties reliably but without initiative, and a small minority who evaded participation in the acts of killing without diminishing the murderous efficiency of the battalion whatsoever.

While this book discusses a specific Reserve Unit during WWII, the general argument Browning makes is that most people succumb to the pressures of a group setting and commit actions they would never do of their own volition.  

Ordinary Men is a powerful, chilling, and important work with themes and arguments that continue to resonate today.

“A remarkable—and singularly chilling—glimpse of human behavior...This meticulously researched book...represents a major contribution to the literature of the Holocaust."—Newsweek

 


 

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