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Summer Clearance on Books Books That Make You Think

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (June 19 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312306369
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312306366
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.8 x 24.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 549 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,988,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
I WAS SIX YEARS, ONE MONTH, AND ONE DAY OLD ON MONDAY, JUNE 15, 1953-four days before my parents' execution. Read the first page
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rachel on June 27 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is so much more than just a recounting of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. It is their son Robert's life journey which is directly a result of his parent's execution. Robert mentions that moral arguments are problematic because they are not necessarily rational. He is right, but that being said, all of his arguments against the "establishment" being wrong have no more credibility than his own opinion of being right. Robert's loyalty to the left and his concern with fighting the "them," who executed his parents almost 50 years ago, has blinded him. We see how the movement is like leaf that just blows in the wind according to the political current. He is so concerned with remaining on the "left," his parent's party, that his own ideologies evolve with the movement. He moves from communism to SDS, to progressive, etc. Robert has no absolute standard for right and wrong. Who can blame him? In a Godless world, there is no absolute standard.
I can't even begin to articulate how this story saddened me though. It saddens me to admit that I had never heard of the Rosenbergs, although I went to an Ivy League University and was familiar with the McCarthy era. I learned about the Rosenbergs from an HBO documentary by Michael's daughter. I also hate to admit that most of my peers have never heard of the Rosenbergs. I was so upset to learn about of all of the Jews who were involved in the execution of Ethel and Julius. Although Robert's recount is very pragmatic, there is such an underlying pain and sadness between the words. What saddened me most is the torn Rosenberg/Greenglass family. As a Jew myself, I can honestly say, their pain is my pain. Family not taking them in; it is not Jewish! Where were those Jewish values and ethics?
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Format: Hardcover
Robert Meeropol's memoir of life as one of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg's two sons, with its sardonic title echoing James Agee's novel "A Death in the Family" (although strictly speaking it's incomplete, since Meeropol had *two* executions in his family), is a powerful and moving account of growing up under the shadow of the legalized murder of both his parents by the United States government.
Having a parent in prison is not easy for a child. Having a parent executed is even worse. But having had *both* your parents executed for crimes they almost certainly did not commit, and having them become for a time the most vilified couple in America is a huge psychic burden, one which Meeropol repressed for a long time. In many ways, as he points out, he was fortunate -- he was adopted by a loving couple who raised both him and his older brother well. He received a good education, married and began a career and a family. But underneath it all was a secret he told to almost no one until he was in late twenties: that his parents had been sent to the electric chair for conspiracy to commit espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union.
Not all of Meeropol's book is about the Rosenberg Case. He has had an interesting life on his own merits, and much of it makes for engrossing reading. If I have any reservations at all about the book it's because, maybe due to his being dyslexic, possibly because he's worked with children for many years, Meeropol's prose style is a little simplistic. To put it mildly. He uses commas so sparingly that I began to suspect he'd read way too much Hemingway. An average paragraph will read: CLAUSE COMMA CLAUSE FULLSTOP CLAUSE COMMA CLAUSE FULL STOP CLAUSE COMMA CLAUSE FULL STOP.
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By Sammy on Aug. 30 2003
Format: Hardcover
I never knew that the Rosenberg children were basically forced to assume a different last name so they wouldn't be persecuted by children and adults throughout their lives. Instead of understandably seeking revenge against those that did wrong by his parents (and our democracy), Robert Meeropol has adopted a philosophy of the highest order, to create something constructive out of something terribly heinous. His argument against the death penalty in Chapter 9 is so eloquently convincing that it should be read by every citizen of the free world. I don't believe this to be an understatement. If you read this review, don't just sit there... get the book and read that chapter!!
The author also describes his support of Mumia Abu Jamal and how the Fraternal Order of Police stance for execution is more vengeance than truth-oriented. It's a controversial stance, and he doesn't belabor the point.
On top of it all, he even suggests that he isn't quite convinced that his father wasn't guilty of something, just that there was no evidence to support the government's case against him, and even moreso with his mother. It seems that had the Rosenbergs admitted some guilt, their lives would be spared, Because they refused to lie, they chose death instead. Turns out they were brave, and their executioners cowards. Not a great moment for the USA.
Written simply and with a voice free of self righteousness, Meeropol suggests the proper way our species should think, without moral relativism, and without the hysterics of today's political talking heads. This book makes places like Fox News obsolete.
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