A brutally emphatic and emotional book that revives, welt by scar, the whole case of the Rosenbergs, who appear here as the Isaacsons. The old ""pain-burn"" abrades every page as Daniel, the son, goes back and forth from the past to a present which entails the institutionalization of his sister in a state facility (and electro-shock treatment -- i.e. Mr. Doctorow wires the whole story for voltage of one kind or another). As Daniel, a visionary, a destroyer, a mutilator (sex is another kind of charge he defuses and debases) now comes to judgment. But it is the early scenes through the eyes of the children which come across most strongly: their witness of the arrest and betrayal of the incriminating dentist Mindish; the surveillance and the search of their house before their parents are taken away -- one by one; their mobile disposition from an unloving aunt's house to a Shelter to a home; and of course the last visits to the Death House. One questions some of it even in this fictional form but one accepts it for what it is -- a ravaging, riveting experience.