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Ethel Rosenberg: A Cold War Tragedy

Anne Sebba

5 Reviews

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Biography: historical, political & military, History of the Americas, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000, The Cold War

The tragic story of Ethel Rosenberg, the first woman in America to be sent to her death for a crime other than murder

"I don't think I've ever read a book that has moved me more" ANTHONY HOROWITZ
"Masterful, original and painfully gripping" PHILIPPE SANDS
"A brilliant and fresh take on a famous case" SIMON SEBAG MONTEFIORE

Ethel Rosenberg's story is America's Dreyfus Affair: a catastrophic failure of humanity, and probably also of justice, that continues to haunt the national conscience and is still being played out with different actors in the lead roles today.

On 19 June 1953 Rosenberg became the first woman to be executed by the US government in almost a century, and the only woman in the US to be executed for a crime other than murder. She was thirty-seven years old and the mother of two small children. Her case resonates more than ever today at a time of world tension and conspiracy rumours focused on a resurgent Soviet Union.

Any battle to seek forgiveness for a convicted communist spy would, today, at a time when the Cold War seems all too resonant, stand little chance of success. But the story of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg refuses to die; this is an important moment to recount not simply what FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover called the 'trial of the century', but also a timeless human story of a supportive wife, loving mother and idealist who had her life barbarically cut short for a crime she almost certainly did not commit. Ethel's story lays bare a nation once again deeply divided and unable to live at peace with itself.

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Praise for Ethel Rosenberg: A Cold War Tragedy

  • This is a magnificent book, one with a hundred strands, woven together with such skill that the only thought one can have at the end of reading is: how did we never know the true story of this remarkable woman?

  • A tragic and gripping tale, scrupulously documented, of political chicanery, family betrayal and legal perfidy, Anne's Sebba's book has unnerving echoes in the modern world

  • An almost unbearably terrible story. I was completely held, absorbed and involved with the story of Ethel's short life. Brilliant ... could not be bettered

  • Absolutely gripping in so many ways; beautifully written and superbly researched, a brilliant and a fresh take on a famous case

  • Anne Sebba, a masterful storyteller, peels away the layers of historical and sometimes deliberate misinformation to reveal the extraordinary truth. This book will haunt me for some time...

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Anne Sebba

Anne Sebba is a biographer, journalist and former Reuters foreign correspondent. She has written many books including the best-selling Mother Teresa: Beyond the Image, Laura Ashley, A Life by Design and That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor. She lives in London.

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