An Execution in the Family

One Son's Journey

Robert Meeropol, Son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

St. Martin's Press

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Robert Meeropol was six years old in 1953 when his parents, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, were executed after being convicted of Conspiracy to Commit Espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union at the height of the McCarthy era. Just before they were put to death, the Rosenbergs wrote a letter to their two sons saying they were "secure in the knowledge that others would carry on after them."

The Rosenbergs left their young sons a legacy that was both a burden and a gift, as well as an aching emotional void. Robert Meeropol grew up torn between the need to pursue his political values and his intense fear that personal exposure might subject him and his family to violence or even death.

An Execution in the Family details Robert Meeropol's political odyssey from being the Rosenbergs' son to becoming a prominent political activist in his own right, and it chronicles a very personal journey of self-discovery. This 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 childhood nightmare. It is also a poignant account of how, at age forty-three, he finally found a way to honor his parents and be true to himself.

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Book Excerpts

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Chapter One


I WAS SIX YEARS, ONE MONTH, AND ONE DAY OLD ON MONDAY, JUNE 15, 1953-four days before my parents' execution. That hot June my ten-year-old brother, Michael, and I were living with friends of my parents, Ben and Sonia Bach, in Toms River, New Jersey. I was a thin, dark-haired, olive-skinned child of average height. My face tapered from a high forehead to a somewhat pointed chin. I'm told my most striking feature was brown eyes that were so deep set they often appeared ringed like a raccoon's. I was finishing my kindergarten year at Toms River Elementary School.

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About the Author

Robert Meeropol, Son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

Robert Meeropol is the founder and executive director of the Rosenberg Fund for Children and the younger son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. He has been a progressive activist, author, and speaker for thirty years. Since its founding in 1990, the RFC has provided for the education and emotional needs of both targeted activist youth and children in this country whose parents have been harassed, injured, jailed, lost jobs, or died in the course of their progressive activities. Robert Meeropol lives in Massachusetts with his family.

Robert Meeropol

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Available Formats and Book Details

An Execution in the Family
One Son's Journey
Robert Meeropol, Son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
April 2007
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429977944
ISBN10: 1429977949
288 pages
$7.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin
June 2004
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312306373
ISBN10: 0312306377
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 288 pages, Includes eight pages of black-and-white photographs
$18.99
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