Saturday, January 20, 2007

Ethel by Tema Nason

On the first travel day for vacation I read Ethel by Tema Nason. It is a fictionalized autobiography of Ethel Rosenberg, who is one of of the historical figures about whom I regularly obsess. Overall, it’s a good book. The accounts of the trial and the days leading up to the Rosenberg’s executions seem particularly accurate and compelling. Through reminisces, Nason writes about Ethel’s life from high school and up to the point of being charged with conspiracy to commit treason. I was particularly interested in reading about her early work with organizing a union in conjunction with some of the garment workers in New York City. Also reading this fictionalized account of what Ethel was thinking about in regards to her sons was interesting. Robert Meeropol, who founded and directs the Rosenberg Fund for Children, which provides assistance to children of political prisoners, has written a book about his experiences both as a young child and as an adult in trying to understand what happened to his parents. His memoir is fantastic. This book is engrossing and a good read, but I wish that it had explored Ethel’s thoughts and feelings about the trial further and taken a stand on her guilt or innocence and her sense of her husband’s guilt or innocence. It was written prior to 1995, when significance new documents about the trial were made available, however. Next up in this vein is this interesting book, Secret Agents. It will take until the summer before I’m able to read it, however.

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