Whittaker Chambers: A Biography

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9781441707062: Whittaker Chambers: A Biography

[MP3CD audiobook format in vinyl case.]

[Read by Edward Lewis]

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize

Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist

< br> 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 information about Chambers' 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 improbable 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 twentieth century history.

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Review:

A coolly objective look at the most controversial figure in the postwar crusade against American Communists. Whittaker Chambers (1901-61) made headlines in 1948 with his sensational accusation that former State Department official Alger Hiss was not only a Communist, but a spy, charges Hiss denied until his death in 1996. This scrupulously evenhanded biography concludes that Chambers told the truth, even as it pitilessly delineates his tortured family background, anguished sexual confusion, and political ruthlessness, which might well prompt doubts about his trustworthiness. Chambers' life makes a perfect case study of the most morally fraught period in American history.

From the Inside Flap:

own as the accuser of Alger Hiss, Whittaker Chambers was a commanding, complex figure who was center stage during many of the public events of his time, yet remained intensely private. This book covers Chambers' personal life, as well as his emergence as a dominant voice in the postwar ant-Communist movement. 16 pp. of photos. 640 pp. Print ads. Author tour. 35,000 print.

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