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Only Yesterdays Paperback – October 17, 2011
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Dominic Caruso was not born at the time of the murder and the emotional burden of reconstructing and sharing the events of that day and the subsequent, fascinating story of his father's trials is evident on every page. It is quickly apparent that this book is a son's personal heroic effort.
Dominic Caruso's father committed murder while dissolved in a state of overwhelming grief during the first moments after the death of his beloved son Joey. The circumstances of little Joey's death and the murder in the Caruso household the same day are best left for Dominic Caruso's “Only Yesterdays” to explain.
Suffice to say that the powerful elements in place at the time that rose to support or condemn the father who murdered in front of his wife and children, were not low profile organizations nor individuals. The mafia, The American Medical Association, iconic lawyer Clarence Darrow and Fiorella LaGuardia would all become involved in Papa Caruso's conviction, successful appeal and eventual release from Sing Sing prison.
To describe “Only Yesterdays” as a page turner, would be a trite understatement. This story grabs a reader by the hair and pulls them into the brutal events and heart wrenching drama with tremendous intensity. I turned each page with trepidation never knowing what further horror this family would be forced to endure.
Dominic Caruso does a masterful job of setting this story within a sociological and cultural time frame with his knowledgeable historical commentary and the inclusion of important flash backs granting understanding of the key characters involved. He does not write a biased story and readers will find no glowing defenses of his own father. With remarkable objectivity and compassion for the victim of the crime and his then young bride and baby daughter, Dominic Caruso seemed destined to tell this uniquely American, uniquely Italian-American and historically important story.
It is obvious that an immense amount of research went into this book, including the referencing of court records and interviewing of relatives decades after the tragic events unfolded. The details of this story appear painfully private but are related with accuracy as well as sensitivity. I would acknowledge the author on his bravery, in sharing this brutal yet compellingly personal story with intelligence and force.
I highly recommend this book and feel it is a story that should be read as the important historical event that it became at the time and remains today. This said, “Only Yesterdays” is above all, a son's tour de force.