An Un-American Life: The Case of Whittaker Chambers by Sam Tanenhaus - review by Jonathan Mirsky

Jonathan Mirsky

Reds Under The Bed

An Un-American Life: The Case of Whittaker Chambers


Old Street Publishing 638pp £25 order from our bookshop

American Left-liberal intellectuals of a certain age remember as a time of national hysteria the Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss spy case and the ensuing Red scare of the late Forties and early Fifties, centring on the treason fantasies of Senator Joseph McCarthy. But for some years they have been forced to admit that there was a Moscow-directed espionage apparatus in the United States and some very high American officials indeed had placed themselves under its control. 

There are many books on Chambers and Hiss, but Sam Tanenhaus, a specialist on the period, has now written about it more comprehensively than anyone, and in a book which, despite its length, reads like a thriller. On one side, former Communist Party member and former Soviet agent

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

A Mirror - Westend