FIRST EDITION 1958
DR WERTHAM has had many years' experience with disturbed and delinquent youngsters. His newest book exposes the sobering facts and hidden causes behind one of America's most shocking murders-the true story of Frank Santana, the so-called 'hoodlum' who killed the so-called 'model boy', Billy Blankenship, in a New York street fight.
In this book he describes how a psychiatrist examines a case and tries to understand the psychological and social background. He has here set down what he found when called in by the defence to examine the seventeen-year-old Santana.
A fatherless boy, oldest in a family which had recently moved from Puerto Rico, Santana had belonged to a stick-ball club which had evolved into a gang for self-protection. All members were Puerto Ricans living in a neighborhood where prejudice against them was very strong. What is not generally known is that his victim was also a member of a gang which made practice of beating up Puerto Ricans. Tragedy was inevitable, and actually both boys were victims of their environment and the standards they had been taught to accept. If all the clues are followed, the circle of guilt enlarges in every case. A lesser plea (of second degree murder) was accepted in the case and the damning data Dr Wertham has included here was never heard in court. This book is a plea for understanding, published with the hope that it may guide others concerned with building ethical and social standards of the young.
G.A. Lyward, of Mr Lyward's Answer, relates Dr Wertham's findings and thesis to contemporary England and emphasizes their importance for us.