The View from Alger's Window: A Son's Memoir

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9780375701283: The View from Alger's Window: A Son's Memoir
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The View from Alger's Window is Tony Hiss's remarkable memoir of the trial and imprisonment of one of the most famous victims of the Cold War witch-hunts: his father. Tony Hiss was seven years old when Whittaker Chambers first accused Alger Hiss of passing secrets to the Russians. For the rest of his childhood, Tony and his family experienced the cruelties and intimidations of the time.

Drawing on hundreds of letters Alger sent from prison, the author counters public perceptions of Hiss and shows the fundamental decency and essential goodness of his father and, along the way, draws a compelling portrait of an innocent man. At the same time he lets us see how adversity drew this father and son together, allowing them to achieve a closeness they might never have been able to otherwise.

Beautifully written, wise, The View from Alger's Window sheds new light on a family, a time, an accusation, and a man whose guilt or innocence continues to inspire debate.

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Although Tony Hiss firmly disbelieves the charge that his father was a Soviet agent who passed along State Department documents, the guilt or innocence of Alger Hiss is not entirely the point of this memoir. Instead, drawing on the letters Alger sent his wife and son during the nearly four years he spent in federal prison during the early 1950s, Tony Hiss reveals "the essence that Alger had kept private for so long," an "effervescent and playful" self far more appealing than the rather wooden, lawyerly public persona he adopted when defending himself during the trial. The warm human being who made friends easily, even in jail, was seldom available to his young son during the busy years that preceded Alger's incarceration. Their relationship deepened during his imprisonment, enabling Tony to endure those difficult years of deprivation and separation. Without minimizing the stresses on his family--Tony was plagued by bad dreams and inexplicable accidents; his parents separated a few years after Alger's release--the author emphasizes the courage and nobility of his father, who strove to find occasions for joy even behind bars. This is a moving, very human portrait of a man who in other accounts is usually either demonized or sanctified. --Wendy Smith

From the Publisher:

"It can be now said with certainty that the excellent writer Tony Hiss, when very young, managed to be as strikingly civilized as his father and mother in barbarous times. It seems probable to me that his father's particular hero and former boss, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., would have liked this book."
--Kurt Vonnegut

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9780375401275: The View from Alger's Window: A Son's Memoir

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ISBN 10:  037540127X ISBN 13:  9780375401275
Publisher: Knopf, 1999
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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Vintage Books ed. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The View from Alger s Window is Tony Hiss s remarkable memoir of the trial and imprisonment of one of the most famous victims of the Cold War witch-hunts: his father. Tony Hiss was seven years old when Whittaker Chambers first accused Alger Hiss of passing secrets to the Russians. For the rest of his childhood, Tony and his family experienced the cruelties and intimidations of the time. Drawing on hundreds of letters Alger sent from prison, the author counters public perceptions of Hiss and shows the fundamental decency and essential goodness of his father and, along the way, draws a compelling portrait of an innocent man. At the same time he lets us see how adversity drew this father and son together, allowing them to achieve a closeness they might never have been able to otherwise. Beautifully written, wise, The View from Alger s Window sheds new light on a family, a time, an accusation, and a man whose guilt or innocence continues to inspire debate. Seller Inventory # BTE9780375701283

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