Whittaker Chambers in Books


Reviews books with Whittaker Chambers tagged either as Subject, Actor, or Mention

Susan Jacoby: Alger Hiss and the Battle for History

Equally erring about Hiss

Alger Hiss and the Battle for History
Susan Jacoby
(New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009)

[This article first appeared in The Washington Times]

Susan Jacoby is a gifted writer. She is deft and light. As a grandchild of Whittaker Chambers (who was another gifted writer, if rarely so light), I looked forward to Alger Hiss and the Battle for History. How would she weigh in on the Hiss case?

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Andrew Meier: The Lost Spy

The Lost Spy:
An American in Stalin’s Secret Service

Andrew Meier
(New York: W. W. Norton, August 2008)
Official website: thelostspy.com
Lauren Kim: dust jacket designer

[Reviewed from a galley copy provided by the publisher]

In 1992, Boris Yeltsin held out a dossier with a file inside to an American official:

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Thomas B. Allen: Declassified

50 Top-Secret Documents That Changed History
Thomas B. Allen
(New York: Random House for National Geographic, 2008)

(Reviewed from a galley copy provided by the publisher)

To have 50 of the most important top-secret documents in history summarized in one handy reference book is an excellent idea.
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Tim Weiner: Legacy of Ashes

Legacy of Ashes:
The History of the CIA
Tim Weiner
(New York: Doubleday, 2007)
Official website: LegacyOfAshes.com

This book does not mention Whittaker Chambers by name, but the mention about Alger Hiss is noteworthy: Read the rest of this entry »

Tennent H. Bagley: Spy Wars

Spy Wars:
Moles, Mysteries & Deadly Games
Tennent H. Bagley
(New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007)

The Hiss-Chambers mention is noteworthy:

Alger Hiss was another beneficiary of willful neglect of the obvious. His secret collaboration with Soviet Intelligence was known to Western authorities long before he moved up to play a substantive role in conferences where America’s posture toward the Soviet regime was being worked out, and more than a decade before he was finally brought down before a court… Why do we fall prey to hoaxes, deceptive tricks, lies, and misrepresentations that seem obvious to others less emotional or less involve? Why, once duped, do we then hang on to our misconception, sometimes against the evidence of our senses? Why, when supplied with that evidence, are we more likely to attack its suppliers — a Burtsev, Bukharin, Marton, Sneevliet, or Chambers — instead of the deceiver?> (pp. 272-273)

Second mention:

If American are not alone in suffering this form of blindess, they are particularly predisposed to it. Whittaker Chambers wrote of that “invincible ignorance, rooted in what was most generous in the American character, which because it was incapable of such conspiracy itself, cold not believe that others practiced it. It was rooted, too, in what was most singular i the American experience, which because it has prospered so much apart from the rest of the world, could not really grasp… why [Communists] acted as they did.” (p. 274)

M. Stanton Evans: Blacklisted by History

Blacklisted by History
M. Stanton Evans
(New York: Crown Forum, 2007)

This book, which defends the career of Senator Joseph McCarthy, has some interesting quotes about Whittaker Chambers.

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Sam Tanenhaus: An Un-American Life

An Un-American Life
The Case of Whittaker Chambers
Sam Tanenhaus
(London: Old Street Publishing, 2007)

Despite the new title, this book is merely a reprint of the American edition of Whittaker Chambers: A Biography (New York: Random House, 1988).

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