October 10, 2010

Review: Phantom Spies, Phantom Justice - Elizabeth T. Bentley, Harry Gold, Roy M. Cohn, Irving H. Saypol, Judge Irving R. Kaufman, J. Edgar Hoover, and the Rehearsal ... Trial Or How I Survived McCarthyism


Phantom Spies, Phantom Justice is ninety-three year-old Miriam Moskowitz’s J’accuse, a searing indictment of prosecutors, government bureaucrats and a judge focused more on career advancement than the truth; and of a venal press that sells newspapers with headlines as sensational as they are misleading. Ms. Moskowitz spares no punches. She demonstrates how prosecutors knowingly put lying witnesses on the stand, and judicial ethics were transgressed by a judge who collaborated with the prosecution. The judge, Irving Kaufman, was the same judge who, half a year later, presided over the trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Roy Cohn and Irving Saypol, Miriam’s prosecutors, performed the same function at the Rosenberg trial; two of the chief witnesses for the prosecution, Harry Gold and Elizabeth Bentley, played the same roles in the Rosenberg trial. Ms. Moskowitz makes a convincing case that her trial was a kind of rehearsal for that of the Rosenbergs, a testing of the believability of Gold and Bentley, and of how far popular prejudices could sway a jury. Her story, therefore, has implications for students of the Rosenberg trial.

Phantom Spies, Phantom Justice is, however, not just an account of an historic trial. It is a memoir of pariahhood, of fellow prisoners in New York City’s Women’s House of Detention and Alderson Federal Penitentiary, of a young woman reestablishing human connections. And in painstakingly following the later careers of all her tormentors, Ms. Moskowitz has endowed the work with a fabulous dimension.

This is probably one of the most interesting books I have ever read.  Miriam went through so much and it was a pleasure reading about her life.  I can't imagine spending time in jail for a crime I didn't commit but this book is proof that it does happen.  I would highly recommend this book to any reader.

Bunim & Bannigan Ltd
October 1, 2010
312 pages

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for free.  All opinions expressed are 100% mine.  If you purchase a book using my Amazon or Barnes and Noble link, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.

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