SCAPEGOAT: The Lonesome Death of Bruno Richard Hauptmann by Anthony Scaduto
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SCAPEGOAT: The Lonesome Death of Bruno Richard Hauptmann

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Pictured beside Bruno Richard Hauptmann in this century's rogues gallery, Lee Harvey Oswald seems merely misguided and quirky. Did Hauptmann kill the Lindbergh child? NO, ex-police reporter Scaduto insists, and spends nearly 600 seductive pages proving and reproving it; our image of Hauptmann will never be the same. The ""murder"" of the Lone Eagle's child called forth a public grief and rage unmatched in the States until President Kennedy's assassination. A fearful people demanded vengeance for its hero. When a batch of ransom money was found in Hauptmann's garage, the illegal German immigrant who spoke butchered English was groomed for the sacrifice. He defended himself badly in court, having to translate into German the prosecutor's rapid hectoring, and watched an airtight police frame-up being built expertly around him. How did the money get there? Was there ever really a murder? Was there a gang? What about the vast amount of pro-defense evidence suppressed by the prosecutor so that he would not obliterate his artistic triumph? Sleuthing doggedly through freshly turned dirt and finding unshakable documents to bolster each charge, Scaduto produces a richly assured piece of investigative reporting, dodging nothing and meanwhile working up a profoundly moving portrait that turns the ""beast"" and ""babykiller"" into a figure of tragic integrity whose character in these pages outshines even Lindbergh's.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Putnam