Madison authors, topics, book events and publishers
Stu Levitan welcomes Madison attorney and author Dean Strang, whose latest book Keep the Wretches in Order: America’s Biggest Mass Trial, the Rise of the Justice Department and the Fall of the IWW is from our friends at the University of Wisconsin Press, with a new paperback edition coming in fall.
As to the IWW – that’s the Industrial workers of the World, organized in Chicago in 1905 to be one big union, an industrial union for all wage workers regardless of trade or skill, and also regardless of race, gender or nationality.
As to the Justice Department – it had only been created in 1870, and by the early twentieth century was still a modest and limited enterprise.
But at 2 o’clock on the afternoon of September 5, 1917, scores of local law enforcement officers under the direction of agents from the Bureau of Investigations executed 48 federal search warrants at IWW offices across the country, the start of a series of searches during which they would seize five tons of IWW material.
What led up to that raid, and what followed – the indictment in Chicago of 166 Wobblies for allegedly violating the Espionage Act, the lengthy trial of 122, and very quick conviction of 97, along with essentially identical indictments in Sacramento, Wichita and Omaha – is the business of Dean Strang’s startling new book. , Keep the Wretches in Order: America’s Biggest Mass Trial, the Rise of the Justice Department, and the Fall of the IWW.
As to Dean Strang, he is of course known to millions as one Steven Avery’s trial attorneys, featured in the Netflix series, Making a Murderer. He is a native of Milwaukee, schooled out east at Dartmouth and Virginia Law. In addition to his criminal defense practice, his resume includes five years as Wisconsin’s first federal public defender, a short stint on the other team as an assistant U.S. attorney, some civil litigation, a bit of law school lecturing, and the book Worse Than the Devil: Anarchists, Clarence Darrow, and Justice in a Time of Terror, also from UW Press. It is a pleasure to welcome to Madison BookBeat, Dean Strang.