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WBUR Releases First E-Book: “Bulger on Trial”

“Best reporting on #Bulger for my money is David Boeri of @WBUR – The only ‘big picture’ perspective seeking TRUTH re Gov’t collusion.” @MickPaddyMack – Michael Patrick MacDonald, Author, All Souls: A Family Story from Southie via Twitter

1112_bulgerAs convicted criminal James “Whitey” Bulger faces sentencing in federal court this week, WBUR Senior Reporter David Boeri challenges the notion that the trial was a success. Bulger On Trial: Boston’s Most Notorious Gangster and the Pursuit of Justice is the new, full-length e-book being released today by WBUR through its iLab, an in-house unit fostering innovative content projects. The e-book is free, and available for download on Kindle, iPad and other devices.

Bulger On Trial: Boston’s Most Notorious Gangster and the Pursuit of Justice is the first book to explore last summer’s trial indepth, and it comes from the perspective of a reporter who’s investigated the story for decades.  An excerpt from Boeri’s introduction:

…What makes Whitey Bulger important, and different, is not so much what he did, but what the government did for him. Among the dramatis personae, a cast of hundreds in one of the longest sagas in local history, none loom so large as the FBI and its parent, the Department of Justice. If the FBI had not made Whitey its favorite mobster, broken the rules and rigged the game to his benefit, Bulger would never have reached as high as he did. More likely, he would have become another small-time casualty of gang warfare fought in the streets of South Boston.

The e-book is a spinoff of WBUR’s Bulger On Trial website, launched in June 2013 to serve as the definitive digital guide to Bulger as his long-anticipated trial began in Boston. It was reported by Boeri and produced by WBUR’s senior innovation producer Lisa Tobin, who spearheads all iLab projects. The website combines historical context, perspective and never-before-seen photos, videos and documents (personally collected and stored by Boeri for years in a converted hayloft in his barn) with minute-by-minute coverage and analysis from the courthouse.

The e-book weaves all of this rich content together into a compelling narrative exploration of Bulger, his victims, his accomplices and the trial. In the end, Boeri finds that justice was lacking because the government agencies that enabled Bulger’s ascent to power were not taken to task and held accountable.

“Bulger’s conviction was assured from the start,” says Boeri. “But the trial failed to provide an open trial in which the public could see the relationship between Bulger, the gangster, and those in government—the FBI and the Department of Justice—who had enabled, empowered and emboldened him. The prosecutors fought against the release of information at every turn. They narrowly focused on Bulger and kept the trial away from questions of who made Bulger what he became and how. In the end, the prosecutors defended the institutions and their secrets, while trying to prosecute Bulger. By doing so, they tried to serve two masters…and ended up angering both the jurors and the families of Bulger’s victims.  Though they won convictions on almost every count, at the heart of their case, they failed to prove to the jury that Bulger had committed eight of 19 murders he was accused of committing.”

Bulger On Trial: Boston’s Most Notorious Gangster and the Pursuit of Justice marks the first time that WBUR and its iLab have released an e-book. The WBUR  iLab, created in 2012, serves as an in-house incubator for the creation of original programming and new content at WBUR. Explore all projects from the WBUR iLab online at


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