I’ve been asked hundreds of times since starting the Rosenberg Fund for Children in 1990 about books I would recommend to people who want to learn more about the Rosenberg Case. Recently I’ve lamented that no thorough analysis of the entire case that I respected had been published since Walter and Miriam Schneir’s last revision of Invitation to an Inquest in 1984, and that book became obsolete with the publication of the Venona Transcriptions in 1995.
But the drought has ended. Three excellent new books will be published in 2010! Two of them focus on my parents’ case and a third is tangentially related to it.
In fact the first, Emily and David Alman’s, Exoneration, The Rosenberg-Sobell Case in the 21st Century, is now out. The book’s authors founded the National Committee to Secure Justice in the Rosenberg Case. As I wrote here in May, this book is unique in that it tells the inside story of a very successful organizing effort, and explores the issue of anti-Semitism in my parents’ case in greater depth than any previous book.
Exoneration's central thesis is that the government pulled a “bait and switch” which transformed some of the defendants’ work in 1945 to provide military industrial information to the Soviet Union when it was our ally, into a treasonous spy ring that gave the “secret of the Atomic Bomb” to our arch enemy at the height of the cold war. This book is a “must read” for anyone interested in the case. I urge you to order it through your local independent bookstore or directly from the publisher: www.greenelmspress.com.
The second book, Final Verdict: What Really Happened in the Rosenberg Case, by Walter Schneir, edited with a preface and afterword by Miriam Schneir, will be released by Melville House on September 14th. This posthumously published work (Walter died in April, 2009) presents Walter Schneir’s final meticulous research into my parents’ case.
For decades investigators have revealed how my parents were framed, but no one has presented such a persuasive argument for what actually happened. Walter Schneir has unraveled one of the 20th century’s greatest mysteries, and reaches startling conclusions that I am not yet at liberty to reveal. I will be introducing Miriam Schneir when she discusses this new work on Tuesday, October 5th, at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA. I urge you to place an advance order with the Odyssey Bookshop today.
The final book of the year, Phantom Spies, Phantom Justice, published by Bunin & Bannigan, is by Miriam Moskowitz. It is a memoir of her experiences as a co-defendant in the Brothman case, often referred to as the dress rehearsal for my parents’ case.
Miriam was convicted of obstructing justice and sentenced to two years in prison. While awaiting trial she was housed at the women’s house of detention along with my mother. Her trial featured a cast similar to my parents’ trial including judge Irving R. Kaufman, prosecutors Irving Saypol and Roy Cohen, and prosecution witnesses Harry Gold and Elizabeth Bentley.
With great insight Miriam reveals how Judge Kaufman honed his skills, acting as a second prosecutor, to ensure that the jury would return a guilty verdict. Her powerful personal story provides essential background for understanding what it was like to be caught in the crosshairs of the agents of repression during the McCarthy period. Look for this book forthcoming in October.
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