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.


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.

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