Saturday, May 07, 2005

WITNESS

I've been reading a new (well, actually, old) book - Witness, by Whittaker Chambers. I found it on the Cleveland Public Library web site. If you're local to the area, you can find and reserve a tremendous range of items online, as well as get a lot of e-books and audiobooks electronically. The physical books are sent to the library you ask for later pick-up. They've been doing an online catalog for some time, and it really is convenient. It's been best for those old books, reference books, technical books, and the like.

I'm about 1/2 way through the book. The first 1/3 was very vivid - Chambers apparently had a dreadfully abusive and grim early life, ending with the death of his only brother. Right now, he's married, with a young child, and working in the undercover Soviet-directed organization. He seems genuinely fond of Hiss.

This section of the book is very detailed, but contains less personal detail; it is very matter-of-fact about his sub rosa work. He seems to have had no personal feeling about his actions.

I get the feeling that the Hiss crowd (elite, well-connected, and with a superior air) was common in government at the time. They seem to have dominated the staff of many agencies. Few proleteriat in Rooosevelt's Washington inner circle.

1 comment:

The Scrutinator said...

Came across your post from FrontPageMag. I've been thinking about reading Whittaker Chambers' book. I think former leftists have some of the best perspectives (I'm not one). Have you read Norman Podhoretz' Breaking Ranks? I'm thinking I'll pick one or the other. I don't have time for both.