This book places the 1916 San Francisco Preparedness Day Bombing within the broader context of American radicalism and isolationism during the Progressive Era. A concise narrative and key primary documents offer readers an introduction to this episode of domestic violence and the subsequent, sensationalized trial that followed. The dubious conviction of a local labor organizer raised serious questions about political extremism, pluralistic ideals, and liberty in the United States that continue to resonate in the twenty-first century.
Interested in class conflict, radicalism, violence, xenophobia, and state repression? Curious about why the US legal system and court of popular opinion often slant rightward? Look no further. Johnson’s book on the WWI era’s most notorious bombing offers needed context for Americans seeking to understand similar issues today. The past remains prologue.
- Peter Cole, Professor of History at Western Illinois University
The protracted and brutal violence of the late Gilded Age and early 20th century constituted another civil war in America, as Big Labor and Big Capital fought a running battle over the meaning and future of the nation. Johnson’s timely study situates the infamous Preparedness Day bombing within that larger frame adeptly, reminds us that the West was at the center of the maelstrom, and highlights the scapegoated tragedy of Tom Mooney.
- William Deverell, Director, Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West
Labor & Capital at Odds
Anarchism Comes to the United States
The March of Progressive Era Radicalism & Violence
The Preparedness Debate & Bombing
The Attacks of 1919 & 1920, and the Mooney Defense Onward