The Combat Zone
Murder, Race, and Boston's Struggle for Justice
Published by: Bright Leaf
Starting with this brutal murder, The Combat Zone tells the story of the Puopolo family's struggle with both a devastating loss and a criminal justice system that produced two trials with opposing verdicts, all within the context of a racially divided Boston. Brogan traces the contentious relationship between Boston’s segregated neighborhoods during the busing crisis; shines a light on a court system that allowed lawyers to strike potential jurors based purely on their racial or ethnic identity; and lays bare the deep-seated corruption within the police department and throughout the Combat Zone. What emerges is a fascinating snapshot of the city at a transitional moment in its recent past.
"The careful, meticulous research, the compassionate yet balanced tone, and the compelling narrative thrust make this book read almost like a legal or crime thriller. Brogan does a superb job in untangling this complex case."—Stephanie Schorow, author of Inside the Combat Zone: The Stripped Down Story of Boston's Most Notorious Neighborhood
"The Combat Zone effectively moves forward the conversation on race, highlighting the tumultuous time of busing in Boston and the racial strife that it caused, the conditions of minorities that were forced by circumstance to seek a livelihood in the Combat Zone, and how the media covered Black murder victims differently than white murder victims.”—Christopher Daley, author of Murder and Mayhem in Boston: Historic Crimes in the Hub