WE ARE YOUR SONS: The Legacy of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg by Robert & Michael Rosenberg

WE ARE YOUR SONS: The Legacy of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is a bipartite presentation of the Rosenberg case and its aftermath by their two sons who had remained almost anonymous under the name of their adoptive parents, Meeropol, until Nizer's distorted and, they contend, damaging Implosion Conspiracy (1972) forced them out in the open to litigate against him. The first section, with an interconnecting commentary by four-year-older Michael, reduces the particulars of the trial evidence to two pages and consists mostly of Ethel and Julius' correspondence in prison with each other and their children. It requires your clemency would that it were less emotionally effusive and clumsy. (None of this book has the singeing impact of the Doctorow novel -- which, strangely enough, called the youngsters ""Franny and Zooey in the Cold War,"" while they refer to themselves here as ""Orphans of the Cold War."") In the second part, Robert reports on their growing up after the execution to become ""leftist"" SDS members -- Robert was actually more militant than Michael. Both married happily and continued in fields of graduate study. In the somewhat more stimulating appendices', Michael substantiates the Rosenbergs' contentions that they were ""largely by chance"" the patsies of a ruling elite in an era which needed a spy trial to intensify anti-communist hysteria. (Ethel's last letter concluded: ""We are the first victims of American Fascism."") Michael carries the ideological considerations even further -- making the generational transition from the Old Left of his parents to his own revisionist New left thinking, with particular emphasis on the works of G. William Domhoff. At no point is anything new revealed about the ""grotesque political frame-up"" which Julius charged -- but the boys are, of course, committed to ""the truth of their [parents'] innocence"" and hope that this book will contribute to their vindication.

Pub Date: May 8th, 1975
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin