What Others are Saying about Patriotic Murder

Robert Prager's final note to his family in Germany, written just before his lynching April 5, 1918.

David Kennedy

An undertone of cold fury pulses through Peter Stehman’s meticulously researched account of Robert Prager’s lynching by an Illinois mob in 1918, and the subsequent trial that let his murderers off scot free. The tale he tells is by turns touching, troubling, and timely. It amounts to a parable about the ease with which inflamed patriotism and ignorant prejudice can brew a toxic storm that exposes the frailty of our humanity as well as the fallibility of our judicial system.

 -  David Kennedy is professor of history emeritus at Stanford University and the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Over Here: The First World War and American Society and Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945  and others.

Christopher Capozzola

Patriotic Murder offers the richest account ever of this tragic and forgotten chapter of American history. Peter Stehman is a master storyteller who brings the personalities and political passions of World War I America to life and shows us, a century later, what we can learn from the lessons of the past. 

 -  Christopher Capozzola is a professor of history at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and author of Uncle Sam Wants You: World War I and the Making of the Modern American Citizen.  

John Harte

As a study of what happened in a small American mining and industrial town in 1918, Peter Stehman’s Patriotic Murder: A World War One Hate Crime for Uncle Sam is very impressively researched, conceived, and presented. “Looking back on the whole horrible thing, it seems a nightmare. It began with gossip, fear and hate for the alien.” It ended in an inexcusable and gruesome mob lynching. The author is generous with facts and, on another level, displays the mining town of Collinsville, Illinois, as a fairly typical example of how senseless and primitive mob rule explodes all over the world, then and now. It shows how the collective thinking of a mob abandons reason and destroys individual consciences.

 -  John Harte, author of Churchill the Young Warrior and How Churchill Saved Civilization and others.