The justice dished out was self-serving for JAG attorney Jaworsky, who prosecuted the case with an eye to advancement of his own career. He was determined to get convictions, as was the Pentagon and the White House, given that Italy was now an ally, and the murder cast America in a bad light. Jaworsky found the initial investigation shockingly inadequate, but he compounded the injustice by withholding evidence from the defense. The lives of more than 40 men were ruined by the miscarriage of justice, many being sentenced to hard labor and dishonorably discharged from the service. The murder was never really solved, so the best and brightest of the black soldiers were charged with the crime, it being assumed that they were the ones leading the charge. The author brilliantly brings this story to light after discovering long classified material.
On American Soil sheds light on two underpublicized aspects of the war. First, Hamann brings attention to the fact that 50,000 Italian prisoners were interned in the United States, with Americans displaying a mixed attitude towards them. Many Italian Americans visited the POW facilities, hoping to find relatives or information about relatives in Italy, and some even ending up marrying the POWs. Other Americans resented the fact that the Italian POWs were treated so well and allowed to visit and dine off base. Second, Hamann publicizes the fact that even as late as 1944, African Americans in the military were kept in segregated facilities and allowed to work only in menial jobs in the service—loading and unloading ships and supplies. When these two aspects collided, murder and mayhem resulted. Anyone interested in either of these two aspects of WWII will find this book invaluable.