Ghosts on the Roof

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 93%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (7) from $1.99   
  • New (4) from $16.99   
  • Used (3) from $1.99   


Whittaker Chambers is one of the most controversial figures in modern American history a former Communist spy who left the party, testified against Alger Hiss before the House Un-American Activities Committee, and wrote a classic autobiography, Witness. Dismissed by some as a crank, reviled by others as a traitor, Chambers still looms as a Dostoevskian figure over three decades after his death in 1961. A man of profound pessimism, rare vision, and remarkable literary talents, his continuing importance was attested to when Ronald Reagan posthumously awarded him the Medal of Freedom in 1984.

Ghosts on the Roof, originally published in 1989, brings together more than fifty short stories, essays, articles, and reviews that originally appeared in Time, Life, National Review, Commonweal, The American Mercury, and the New Masses. Included are essays on Karl Marx, Reinhold Niebuhr, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, George Santayana, Dame Rebecca West, Ayn Rand, and Greta Garbo. These show Chambers at his best, as a peerless historian of ideas.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Ghosts on the Roof] is an important contribution to history and to literature. It will do . . . much to restore the correct perspective. . . . A superb rediscovery of the artistry of a great figure." —William F. Buckley, Jr.

"The world knows Whittaker Chambers best as a philosopher and a hero of liberty. Because of Ghosts on the Roof, it will be reminded that he was also a first-rank critic, an incisive stylist, and all in all one of America's greatest journalists. Terry Teachout's valuable collection will go directly to my most easily reached bookshelf, right next to the well-worn copies of Witness and Cold Friday." —Richard Nixon "Ghosts on the Roof is an important book. . . . Chambers writes with distinction, compassion, and authority." —Hilton Kramer "This book is a treasure chest for admirers of Whittaker Chambers such as myself." —Robert Novak

The selected essays, articles, reviews, and short stories originally published in Time, Life, National Review and other magazines between 1931 and 1959 written by Chambers, the former Communist spy who testified against Alger Hiss and wrote the classic autobiography Witness. The contents are divided into five parts, tracing the evolution of Chambers' thoughts as a member of the revolution and a historian of Western culture. The collected essays were originally published in 1989 by Regnery Gateway. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560008354
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/1996
  • Series: Library of Conservative Thought Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 404
  • Sales rank: 824,526
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry Teachout is a member of the editorial board of the New York Daily News. His writing appears in The American Scholar, Commentary, High Fidelity, Musical America, National Review, The New Criterion, The New Dance Review, and The Wall Street Journal. Milton Hindus, a founding member of the Brandeis University faculty, served as the Edytha Macy Gross Professor of Humanities until his retirement. He is the author of Irving Babbitt, Literature and the Democratic Culture and has contributed to leading periodicals throughout the world.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introuction to the Transaction Edition
Editor's Note
Introduction: The Forgotten Career of Whittaker Chambers
Can You Make Out Their Voices (1931) 3
You Have Seen the Heads (1931) 22
Our Comrade Munn (1931) 30
Death of the Communists (1931) 40
Intelligence Report (1939) 49
Night Thoughts (1939) 50
The New Pictures: "Ninothchka" (1939) 56
The New Pictures: "The Grapes of Wrath" (1940) 58
The Revolt of the Intellectuals (1941) 60
Silence, Exile & Death (1941) 63
Peace & the Papacy (1943) 66
Historian and History Maker (1944) 74
Literay Autolysis (1944) 80
Santayana, Poet of Dissolution (1944) 86
The Anatomy of Fascism (1944) 92
Area of Decision (1944) 98
Crisis (1944) 104
The Ghosts on the Roof (1945) 111
The Old Deal (1945) 116
Christmas 1945 (1945) 119
Problem of the Century (1946) 123
Crossroads (1946) 126
In Egypt Land (1946) 134
The Challenge (1947) 141
The Tragic Sense of Life (1947) 150
Circles of Perdition (1947) 156
The Devil (1948) 166
Dr. Crankley's Children (1948) 175
Faith for a Lenten Age (1948) 184
The Middle Ages (1947) 197
Medieval Life (1947) 204
The Glory of Venice (1947) 209
The Age of Enlightenment (1947) 217
The Edwardians (1947) 223
Age of Exploration (1948) 233
The Protestant Revolution (1948) 242
The Sanity of St. Benedict (1952) 257
Is Academic Freedom in Danger? (1953) 265
The End of a Dark Age Ushers in New Dangers (1956) 279
Soviet Strategy in the Middle East (1957) 291
The Coming Struggle for Outer Space (1957) 300
A Westminster Letter: The Left Undestand the Left (1957) 304
A Westminster Letter: "To Temporize Is Death" (1957) 308
Big Sister Is Watching You (1957) 313
A Westminster Letter: Springhead to Springhead (1958) 319
Some Untimely Jottings (1958) 326
Letter from Westminster: A Reminder (1958) 328
A Republican Looks at His Vote (1958) 331
Some Westminster Notes (1959) 333
Missiles, Brains and Mind (1959) 335
The Hissiad: A Correction (1959) 340
Foot in the Door (1959) 345
Index 351
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)