Alex Goodall

The Good Fight

Alger Hiss and the Battle for History

By

Yale University Press 272pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

The Conservative Turn: Lionel Trilling, Whittaker Chambers, and the Lessons of Anti-Communism

By

Harvard University Press 418pp £33.95 order from our bookshop

The Hiss–Chambers affair marked the point where the Cold War came home to America. In 1948, Whittaker Chambers – obese, troubled, scruffy, mumbling into the microphone of the House Un-American Activities Committee as he struggled to reconcile himself to his past life as a secret agent – accused a charming, articulate and successful former State Department official, Alger Hiss, of passing secret documents to the Soviets. Over the course of 1949, Americans followed the case obsessively as it unfolded through the newspapers, radio, and television, which for the first time provided direct coverage of congressional hearings. Hiss deployed the full force of the Establishment to defend his innocence, but after two trials Chambers was vindicated and Hiss sent to prison for perjury. The American public became sensitised to the threat of Communism from within, and the stage was thus set for McCarthyism.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,