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Alger Hiss and the Battle for History

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Alger Hiss and the Battle for History Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Books on Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss abound, as countless scholars have labored to uncover the facts behind Chamberss 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.

Review:

In 1997, Anthony Lake was ending his term as national security adviser when President Clinton nominated him to lead the CIA. Not long before Lake's confirmation hearings, a Sunday-morning talk show host asked him about, of all things, Alger Hiss — the Roosevelt State Department official and emblem of New Deal liberalism, who was convicted in 1950 of perjury after denying that he passed information... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Fascinating, accessible, and persuasive, Susan Jacoby makes it clear why the Hiss case and the diverse responses to and uses of it matter. She will upset, if not outrage, people on both sides of the political spectrum." Harvey J. Kaye

Review:

"Jacoby offers a sprightly and thoughtful overview of the Hiss case, and considers its impact on several generations of liberal and conservative intellectuals. Her nuanced conclusions may not win the approval of either pro- or anti-Hiss partisans, but should prove all the more useful to the general reader." Maurice Isserman

Review:

"There is a lifetime of erudition — about American society, the Soviet Union, and the way people bend their perceptions to fit their beliefs — in this wise and careful look at an episode that for decades inspired heated diatribes. Jacoby points out that those of us who don't believe in Hiss's innocence should still care about the issues of civil liberties that the case raised — and which are still highly relevant today." Adam Hochschild

About the Author

Susan Jacoby is an independent scholar and best-selling author. The most recent of her seven previous books is The Age of American Unreason. She lives in New York City.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780300121339
Author:
Jacoby, Susan
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Subject:
Communism
Subject:
History
Subject:
Political
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
General History
Subject:
Historical - U.S.
Subject:
United states
Subject:
United States Officials and employees.
Subject:
United States - 20th Century (1945 to 2000)
Subject:
US History - 20th Century
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Series:
Icons of America
Publication Date:
20100330
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » US History » 1920 to 1960
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » US History » General

Alger Hiss and the Battle for History Used Hardcover
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Product details 272 pages Yale University Press - English 9780300121339 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Fascinating, accessible, and persuasive, Susan Jacoby makes it clear why the Hiss case and the diverse responses to and uses of it matter. She will upset, if not outrage, people on both sides of the political spectrum."
"Review" by , "Jacoby offers a sprightly and thoughtful overview of the Hiss case, and considers its impact on several generations of liberal and conservative intellectuals. Her nuanced conclusions may not win the approval of either pro- or anti-Hiss partisans, but should prove all the more useful to the general reader."
"Review" by , "There is a lifetime of erudition — about American society, the Soviet Union, and the way people bend their perceptions to fit their beliefs — in this wise and careful look at an episode that for decades inspired heated diatribes. Jacoby points out that those of us who don't believe in Hiss's innocence should still care about the issues of civil liberties that the case raised — and which are still highly relevant today."
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