1st Edition

Secret Agents The Rosenberg Case, McCarthyism and Fifties America

Edited By Marjorie Garber, Rebecca Walkowitz Copyright 1996

    When the American Bar Association recreated the trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg on the fortieth anniversary of their execution, the jury acquitted the "mock Rosenbergs," finding that in today's courts they would not have been convicted of espionage.
    The 1950s trial of the Rosenbergs on charges of "Atomic Spying" and "stealing the secrets of the Atomic bomb" was a major event of Cold War America, galvanizing public opinion on all sides of the question. Secret Agents presents essays by lawyers, cultural critics, social historians and historians of science, as well as a reconsideration of the Rosenbergs by their younger son, Robert Meeropol. Secret Agents gives new resonance to a history we have for too long been willing to forget.

    Introduction; One: Secrets; 1: Jell-O; 2: The Rosenbergs and the Crimes of a Century; 3: TV, the Bomb, and the Body; 4: The Secret about Secrets; 5: Censorship of American Uranium Mine Epidemiology in the 1950s; 6: The Trial of J. Edgar Hoover; 7: Strange Angel; 8: Flash Back, Flash Forward; Two: Agents; 9: Before the Rosenbergs; 10: Helplessness and Heartlessness; 11: The Rosenberg Case and the New York Intellectuals; 12: The Rosenberg Letters; 13: The Suffering Body; 14: A Bond of Sisterhood; 15: The Bell Jar and the Ghost of Ethel Rosenberg; Three: Testimonies; 16: Rosenberg Realities; 17: Some Remarks about Trials; 18: Jews and McCarthyism; 19: Contrasting Fates of Repression; 20: Arbitrary Convictions?; 21: The Work of the State


    Marjorie Garber is Professor of English and Director of the Center for Literary and Cultural Studies at Harvard University; she and Rebecca Walkowitz are also co-editors of Media Spectacles (Routledge 1993).

    "Secret Agents succeeds in conveying a sense of moral engagement with its subject matter. This book also reanimates issues that conveniently dropped out of sight because, as a society, we are uncomfortable dealing with ambiguity in the historical record...Walkowitz and Garber should be both congratulated and widley read, for assembling a collection that leaves readers less comfortable for having spent time with this book." -- Boston Book Review,Dec.1995
    "a remarkably cogent account." -- Boston Book Review
    "the writers demonstrate with ferocious eloquence." -- Boston Book Review
    "The authors have assembled an extraordinary panoply of personal testimony, political polemic, social commentary, legal observation and scientific history. Secret Agents is, moreover, an intellectual kaleidoscope of the conduct of public affairs during the '50s." -- The Boston Book Review