The Boston Advertiser of Sept. 16th, 1913, carried an article by Upton Sinclair which may well serve as an introduction to "The Story of a Proletarian Life." Sinclair said in part:
"You will find the life of Hanry D. Thoreau an anecdote of the time when he refused to pay taxes to a State government which captured negroes and returned them to slavery.
"In due process of law he was confined in jail for this offense, and Ralph Waldo Emerson came to visit him and said, 'Henry, what are you doing here?'
The answer was, "Waldo, what are you doing not here?"
"In line with this high precedent, I went about a year ago to call upon one of the world's gentlest spirits, now confined in the Massachusetts State Prison at Charlestown. He did not rebuke me for my failure to join him; nevertheless, by his beauty and sweetness of spirit, he made me so ashamed of myself that shortly afterwards I also was moved to get myself into jail. So spreads the spirit of martyrdom!
"Who is this great man of Massachusetts? I have before me his autobiography, fresh from the press; it is entitled 'The Story of a Proletarian Life,' by Bartolomeo Vanzetti.
"In this book I learn that he was born in the town of Villafalletto, in Piedmont, Italy. He was the child of peasants, and was eager for Knowledge and was promised an education; but when his father read in the newspaper that forty-two lawyers had applied for a position in Turin which paid only seven dollars a month, he decided that an education was not what it was cracked up to be.
"So, at the age of thirteen, the boy was turned over to the mercies of a baker, who worked him from 7 o'clock in the morning until 10 o'clock at night, seven days a week, except for three hours off every other Sunday.