Whittaker Chambers in Books


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

Carolyn Heilbrun: When Men Were the Only Models We Had

When Men Were the Only Models We Had:
My Teachers Barzun, Fadiman, Trilling

(Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002)

Carolyn Gold Heilbrun may have mentioned Whittaker Chambers only a few times in passing in her 2002 memoirs When Men Were the Only Models We Had, but she sheds more light on Chambers and his contemporaries than many others.

Read the rest of this entry »

Marie Brenner: Great Dames

Great Dames:
What I Learned from Older Women
Marie Brenner
(New York: Crown Publishers, 2000)

Marie Brenner, who has penned the amazing, gripping investigative thriller The Insider among other books, put together one book I found rather misleading. Ostensibly, Great Dames is, according to the subtitle, about women she learned from. A few chapters into the book, however, we readers realize she did not know many of them very well. In fact, she relies heavily on anecdotes from others and from her subjects’s memoirs. Diana Trilling is a good example, and Brenner’s treatment of Whittaker Chambers a good case in point.

Read the rest of this entry »

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:

Read the rest of this entry »

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.
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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Amy Knight: How the Cold War Began

How the Cold War Began:
The Igor Gouzenko Affair and the Hunt for Soviet Spies

Amy Knight
(New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2005)

Sovietologist Dr. Amy Knight approaches the politically charged Hiss-Chambers Case on the side of Alger Hiss. For her, Whittaker Chambers was one of many tools in the hands of the FBI to attack the administration of President Harry S. Truman. She presents Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White, and others involved in pre-McCarthy investigations to be victims, equally and alike.

Read the rest of this entry »


Subscribe (RSS reader)

Subscribe (enter email address):

Delivered by FeedBurner


Amazon USA:

Amazon UK: