EventsJan Brogan—The Combat Zone: Murder, Race, and Boston's Struggle for Justice

Jan Brogan—The Combat Zone: Murder, Race, and Boston's Struggle for Justice

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Central Library in Copley Square


Join us to hear 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. 

At the end of the 1976 football season, more than forty Harvard athletes went to Boston's Combat Zone to celebrate. In the city's adult entertainment district, drugs and prostitution ran rampant, violent crime was commonplace, and corrupt police turned the other way. At the end of the night, Italian American star athlete Andy Puopolo, raised in the North End, was murdered in a stabbing. Three African American men were accused of the crime. His murder made national news and led to the eventual demise of the city's red-light district. Author Jan 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.

Jan Brogan is a journalist and novelist. A former staff writer for the Providence Journal and the Worcester Telegram, Brogan won the Gerald Loeb award for distinguished financial writing. She worked for ten years as a correspondent at the Boston Globe, and her freelance work has appeared in Boston Magazine, the Improper Bostonian, Ladies Home Journal, and Forbes. Brogan is also the author of four murder mysteries, one of which, A Confidential Source, was developed into a television series for HBO. She lives outside Boston and on Martha’s Vineyard with her husband. They have two grown children.

Buy a copy of the book through our local independent bookseller and partner Trident Books here. Use the code BPLSHIP for free media mail shipping.

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