Death threats are no small matter, and are to be taken very seriously. I know how upsetting they can be because in the 80’s, I was subject to them myself. After The Rosenberg File was published and received a favorable front page review by Alan Dershowitz in The New York Times Book Review, I began to get phone calls threatening me and my family, many of them around 3 am in the morning. One caller told me “I know where your children live and their school schedule, and you and they better watch out, because we will get you.” I phoned the police who came to my apartment the next day, and we discussed if there was any way to identify the callers and put a stop to them.
Nothing happened, the calls stopped, and I’m still here. But the threats were quite unnerving, I assure you. The threats I received came from the pro-Communist Left, who considered me a traitor for proclaiming the Rosenbergs to be Soviet spies. So I am more than sympathetic to the plight of Frances Fox Piven, who evidently, has received scores of threatening e-mails from people who do not agree with her politics. The editors of the leftist magazine The Nation,where Piven’s writings have appeared consistently since the 1960’s, call her “distinguished professor, legendary activist, writer and longtime contributor to this magazine.” The last characterization is the only correct one, although, I’m sure she is “legendary” in their circles.