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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 19th 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 37 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.

©2021 Anne Sebba (P)2021 Orion Publishing Group

Critic reviews

"I don't think I've ever read a book that has moved me more." (Anthony Horowitz)

"Masterful, original and painfully gripping, a historic miscarriage of justice laid bare for our times." (Philippe Sands)

"Absolutely gripping in so many ways; beautifully written and superbly researched, a brilliant and fresh take on a famous case." (Simon Sebag Montefiore )

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