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An Execution in the Family: One Son's Journey

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  80 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
An Execution in the Family details Robert Meeropol's political odyssey from Rosenberg son to political activist in his own right, and chronicles a very personal story of self-discovery. It is the story of how he tried to balance a strong desire to live a normal life and raise a family, with a growing need to create something useful out of his nightmare childhood. It is als ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2003)
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Apr 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, political
Written by the son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. I found it riveting. I found him to be so honest both with what happened to him as a child, but especially his nuanced understanding of what his parents did. Were they innocent? He was open to new information over the years and did not hide behind a "pat" answer.I also like the way he laid out the "old left" and the "new left." And I appreciated the fact that he was an activist from a young age, trying to live into the legacy left by his parents. ...more
Sybelle van Erven
Mar 26, 2009 rated it did not like it
See, I thought this subject would interest me. The story of what happens to the son of a couple that was executed for espionage in the McCarthy era (he was only 4 yrs. old, I belive). It should have been fascinating, but it was written in such a boring fashion that I gave up on it after a few chapters. I still think I'd like to read a first person account of something like that, but I need to find a different author.
Dec 23, 2010 rated it did not like it
Although I find the story of what happened to the Rosenberg's tragic and feel strongly that there was a miscarriage of justice, this book is painful to read. Being the son of the Rosenberg's does not make you a writer. I thought that the book would be about the case and the trial, but rather it was like a long, boring, self-congratulatory journal entry.
Sep 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Haunting and fascinating... this book opened my eyes to the kind of persecution that still takes place in our country and how it effects the children of people with views that are not mainstream.
Aug 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
I give up. This book wasn't what I thought it was. What this book is a giant yawn fest of a middle class kid growing up in the mid 1960s. The adopted parents did a great thing by taking in the kids and educating them and loving them and giving them a stable home. But this book never should have been published. It offers no substantial addition to the Rosenberg saga, which I think needs to be explored more, especially in our current time. Were the parents guilty? Maybe both? Maybe just Julius? I ...more
Larry Bassett
Mostly because I am of a particular political persuasion, I have known about Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for many years. They are martyrs in the cause of justice denied in the McCarthy years of the early 1950s. The Rosenbergs were executed in 1953 for allegedly being communist spies for the Soviet Union. They could have avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty. They had two young sons, age 6 and 10, when they were killed by the government. The boys'last name was changed when they were adopted ...more
May 08, 2015 rated it did not like it
I read this book knowing nothing about the Rosenberg case except that they were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage and executed. That was all. So I went into this book with a completely open mind. One thing throughout the entire book that had me a bit turned off was his never-ending politicking, and in the latter half as he gets older his constant politicking but this time making a point and then taking it right back. He constantly refers to himself and his ideals as in the middle but s ...more
Dec 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
This book was full of interesting information that really made me rethink how my government operates. I struggled to try and understand how, in particular, Ethel Rosenberg could have been sent to the electric chair. I have read other sources about the Rosenbergs, and they agree that Ethel was executed as means to leverage information from Julius. Imagining my mother killed by the government would have turned me into the Unabomber. I admire both Michael and Robert for becoming such produductive, ...more
Neil Crossan
Sep 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
In 1953 the US government executed Robert Meeropol’s parents for the conspiracy to sell the secret of the atomic bomb to the Soviets. Although the case is ever present in the book, it’s by no means a complete representation of the events that lead to his parents execution nor is it the point of the book. This book is about the son’s life. It’s a very personal story at times interesting at time ordinary. Overall you get a sense of how murder causes a ripple effect through families regardless of w ...more
Sarah Funke
Jul 19, 2007 rated it it was ok
Still reading it, though it goes at quite a clip and is a fairly interesting portrait of the time and place. It's by the younger son of Julius and Ethel Ros enberg, who was three when his parents were incarcertaed and six when they wereexecuted.
Oct 10, 2007 rated it really liked it
I stumbled upon this book accidentally when researching the song "Strange Fruit". The connection to this book and the song is not worth mentioning, however I am certainly glad to have found this read since it exposed me to history that I was not aware of in depth.
Regina Tabor
Jul 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A memoir about one sons memory of the life and death of his "communist" parents and the people who raised him after their execution in the USA.
Aug 02, 2007 rated it liked it
Great follow up to Doctrorow's The Book of Daniel.
Chad Montabon
Nov 10, 2016 rated it liked it
If you want a 'blow by blow' account of the Rosenberg affair, this isn't it. It is, however, a good look into the life of a 'Red Diaper Baby' and his life.
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