On 19th June 1953 Ethel 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 2 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.
‘A heart-piercingly brilliant book about a woman whose personal life put her in the cross-hairs of history’ HADLEY FREEMAN
‘Totally riveting. I couldn’t put it down’ VICTORIA HISLOP
‘Ethel sings out for all women who have been misunderstood and wronged, and refuse to bow down’ NICHOLAS SHAKESPEARE
‘A shocking tale of betrayal, naivety, misogyny and judicial failure’ SONIA PURNELL
‘A historic miscarriage of justice laid bare for our times’ PHILIPPE SANDS
Ethel Rosenberg was a supportive wife, loving mother to two small children and courageous idealist who grew up during the Depression with aspirations to become an opera singer.
On 19 June 1953 she became the first woman in the US to be executed for a crime other than murder. She was thirty-seven years old.
Ethel’s conviction for conspiracy to commit espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union followed what FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover called the ‘trial of the century’ in Cold War America and is still controversial. Now, Anne Sebba’s masterly, meticulously researched and deeply moving biography finally tells Ethel’s true story – a life barbarically cut short on the basis of tainted evidence for a crime she almost certainly did not commit.