Alger Hiss and the Battle for History

Alger Hiss and the Battle for History

by Susan Jacoby, Mark Crispin Miller
     
 

ISBN-10: 0300121334

ISBN-13: 9780300121339

Pub. Date: 03/24/2009

Publisher: Yale University Press

Books on Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss abound, as countless scholars have labored to uncover the facts behind Chambers’s shocking accusation before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in the summer of 1948—that Alger Hiss, a former rising star in the State Department, had been a Communist and engaged in espionage.

In this highly

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Overview

Books on Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss abound, as countless scholars have labored to uncover the facts behind Chambers’s shocking accusation before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in the summer of 1948—that Alger Hiss, a former rising star in the State Department, had been a Communist and engaged in espionage.

In this highly original work, Susan Jacoby turns her attention to the Hiss case, including his trial and imprisonment for perjury, as a mirror of shifting American political views and passions. Unfettered by political ax-grinding, the author examines conflicting responses, from scholars and the media on both the left and the right, and the ways in which they have changed from 1948 to our present post–Cold War era. With a brisk, engaging style, Jacoby positions the case in the politics of the post–World War II era and then explores the ways in which generations of liberals and conservatives have put Chambers and Hiss to their own ideological uses. An iconic event of the McCarthy era, the case of Alger Hiss fascinates political intellectuals not only because of its historical significance but because of its timeless relevance to equally fierce debates today about the difficult balance between national security and respect for civil liberties.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300121339
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
03/24/2009
Series:
Icons of America Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Ch. 1 Passions as Prologue 31

Ch. 2 The Eye of the Hurricane, 1948-1950 93

Ch. 3 Competing Narratives and Public Amnesia, 1950-1965 119

Ch. 4 The Best of Times, The Worst of Times, 1970-1980 140

Ch. 5 The Rise of the Right and the Cold War at Twilight, 1980-1992 166

Ch. 6 The Enemy Vanishes, 1992-2008 183

Conclusion: Passions as Epilogue 202

Chronology 225

Notes 231

Selected Bibliography 239

Acknowledgments 243

Index 245

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