Whittaker Chambers: A Biography

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Random House Publishing Group, Apr 20, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 656 pages
16 Reviews
Whittaker Chambers is the first biography of this complex and enigmatic figure. Drawing on dozens of interviews and on materials from forty archives in the United States and abroad--including still-classified KGB dossiers--Tanenhaus traces the remarkable journey that led Chambers from a sleepy Long Island village to center stage in America's greatest political trial and then, in his last years, to a unique role as the godfather of post-war conservatism. This biography is rich in startling new information about Chambers's days as New York's "hottest literary Bolshevik"; his years as a Communist agent and then defector, hunted by the KGB; his conversion to Quakerism; his secret sexual turmoil; his turbulent decade at Time magazine, where he rose from the obscurity of the book-review page to transform the magazine into an oracle of apocalyptic anti-Communism. But all this was a prelude to the memorable events that began in August 1948, when Chambers testified against Alger Hiss in the spy case that changed America. Whittaker Chambers goes far beyond all previous accounts of the Hiss case, re-creating its improbably twists and turns, and disentangling the motives that propelled a vivid cast of characters in unpredictable directions.

A rare conjunction of exacting scholarship and narrative art, Whittaker Chambers is a vivid tapestry of 20th century history.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Review: Whittaker Chambers

User Review  - Charles Kerns - Goodreads

Tanenhaus shows Chambers to be a mess, but he does so sympathetically in the beginning and then, as the book proceeds to the trial and beyond, heroically. Nixon comes off as only he could and Hiss as ... Read full review

Review: Whittaker Chambers

User Review  - Lynda - Goodreads

I found the life & times of Whittaker Chambers fascinating on so many, many levels. The book encompasses more that just the persona of Chambers as within is woven the flow of far left - far right ... Read full review



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