Reviews - What do customers think about The Man Behind the Rosenbergs?
Especially recommended for students of "Cold War" era Jan 9, 2002
The Man Behind The Rosenbergs is the personal and candid memoir of Alexander Feklisov, a KGB spymaster. This fascinating, compelling account in Feklisov's own words relates his claims of a close friendship to Julius Rosenberg (whom Feklisov felt was wrongly executed) and his duty as a secret messenger who helped bring to an end the terrifying tension of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Especially recommended for students of "Cold War" era, The Man Behind The Rosenbergs is a revealing, gripping narrative, impossible to put down from first page to last!
A Kindly Portrait of Julius and Ethel Jan 8, 2002
There is much more to this book than the story of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, but it is for the Russian viewpoint of this story that I bought the book. Having read the recently published book The Brother I wanted to read this book to compare the two. Alexander Feklisov paints a kindly picture of Julius Rosenberg as being an individual who sympathized with the plight of the Jews in Germany during World War II. Julius felt the Russians bore the brunt of the fighting against Nazi Germany and he wanted to do whatever he could to help them. Since Russia was an ally of America during World War II he wanted to do what he could to be of assistance since he wasn't in the front lines fighting the Nazis. Julius comes across as a rather kindly and meek individual and a genuine friendship between him and Feklisov developed. Rosenberg's biggest contribution to Russian intelligence was in providing them with the proximity fuse in which an explosive shattered when it neared an airplane causing damage instead of having to score a direct hit on the plane. Julius's wife Ethel was aware and sympathetic of her husband's activities, but was otherwise not involved. Whether she actually did any typing of her brother's, David Greenglass', notes is still questionable. It may very well have been David's wife, Ruth. David worked at Los Alamos in a machine shop and provided what information he could on America's efforts to develop an atomic bomb, but his childish sketches of a lens was of no value according to Feklisov. David Greenglass agreed to turn against his sister and brother-in-law in exchange for immunity for his wife Ruth and a prison sentence for himself. The Rosenbergs could have fled to Russia when things got "hot", but they wanted to remain close to Ruth because she was in a hospital recovering from burns suffered in an accident. From reading this book and The Brother I conclude that the Rosenbergs' hatred was against Nazism and their treatment of the Jews and not against America. As he saw it, Julius was helping an American ally (Russia) to fight an American enemy (Germany). The book is also interesting in showing the precautions spies take in their meetings. At a time when Communism was a hot topic in the early 1950's it is questionable whether the Rosenbergs received the fairness they deserved. The book covers much more including Feklisov's role along with John Scali during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but I'll limit my review to the case of the Rosenbergs since that is the part of the book I was most interested in.