Cover image for Alger Hiss, Whittaker Chambers, and the schism in the American soul
Alger Hiss, Whittaker Chambers, and the schism in the American soul
Swan, Patrick.
[First edition].
Publication Information:
Wilmington, Del. : ISI Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
xxxi, 359 pages ; 23 cm
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E743.5 .A67 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Marking the 50th anniversary of the publication of Whittaker Chambers's spiritual autobiography "Witness, " Swan anthologizes 23 of the best essays ever written on Chambers and Alger Hiss by Leslie Fiedler, Arthur Koestler, and William F. Buckley Jr. These writers comment on the two men while expressing their own divergent opinions on the nature of communism (and anticommunism), liberalism, and many other issues.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

In August 1948, Alger Hiss, a former State Department bureaucrat, was accused of being a Soviet spy (he was tried and ultimately found guilty). The case quickly became a cause clbre, the center of the bitter battle between conservatives (long out of power but smelling blood) and liberals over the history of the previous 20 years and the direction in which the country should proceed. This is a collection of 23 essays from such heavyweights as Diana and Lionel Trilling, William F. Buckley Jr., Rebecca West, Hugh Kenner, Sam Tanenhaus, Murray Kempton, and others. They not only comment on various aspects of the case but also shed light on the broader controversies that engulfed the country, such as the defensiveness of liberals with regard to their past support of the USSR, the abusive investigative tactics of McCarthy, Nixon, and the House Un-American Activities Committee, and the pervasive climate of fear. The publication dates range from 1950 to 2001, so the later writings were done after the opening of Soviet archives, showing that Hiss was almost certainly a spy. Contributors' notes identify the writers and offer brief background characterizing their position on the case. Although it helps to be well versed in the intellectual history of the period, this book is recommended for academic and larger public libraries.-Daniel K. Blewett, Coll. of DuPage Lib., Glen Ellyn, (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Patrick SwanWilfred McClayLeslie A. FiedlerDiana TrillingArthur KoestlerGranville HicksSidney HookIrving HoweElmer DavisKingsley MartinRebecca WestMark DeWolfe HoweDavid CortWilliam F. Buckley Jr.Murray KemptonLionel TrillingPhilip NobileAlfred KazinHugh KennerJohn JudisEric M. BreindelSam TanenhausSam TanenhausRon RosenbaumHilton Kramer
Prefacep. XI
Introductionp. XXV
1. Hiss, Chambers, and the Age of Innocence (Commentary, August 1951)p. 1
2. A Memorandum on the Hiss Case (Partisan Review, May-June 1950)p. 27
3. The Complex Issue of the Ex-Communists (New York Times Magazine, February 19, 1950)p. 49
4. Whittaker Chambers's Testament (New Leader, May 26, 1952)p. 57
5. The Faiths of Whittaker Chambers (New York Times Book Review, May 25, 1952)p. 69
6. God, Man and Stalin (Nation, May 24, 1952)p. 81
7. History in Doublethink (Saturday Review, June 28, 1952)p. 91
8. The Witness (New Statesman and Nation, July 19, 1952)p. 101
9. Whittaker Chambers (Atlantic Monthly, June 1952)p. 107
10. The Misfortune of a Nation (Nation, May 18, 1957)p. 127
11. Of Guilt and Resurrection (Nation, March 20, 1967)p. 133
12. The End of Whittaker Chambers (Esquire, September 1962)p. 139
13. A Narodnik from Lynbrook (New York Review of Books, January 29, 1970)p. 165
14. Whittaker Chambers and The Middle of the Journey (New York Review of Books, April 17, 1975)p. 179
15. The State of the Art of Alger Hiss (Harper's, April 1976)p. 201
16. Why Hiss Can't Confess (Esquire, March 28, 1978)p. 213
17. Chambers' Music and Alger Hiss (American Spectator, June 1979)p. 221
18. The Two Faces of Whittaker Chambers (New Republic, April 16, 1984)p. 235
19. Alger Hiss: A Glimpse Behind the Mask (Commentary, November 1988)p. 253
20. Whittaker Chambers, Man of Letters (New Criterion, April 1990)p. 265
21. Sifting through the Evidence (Appendix to Whittaker Chambers: A Biography, 1997)p. 285
22. My Lunch with Alger: Oh No, Not Hiss Again! (New York Observer, April 16, 2001)p. 293
23. Thinking about Witness (New Criterion, March 1988)p. 303
A Hiss-Chambers Bibliographyp. 325
Notes on Contributorsp. 339
Indexp. 349