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 The Bookshelf


  

More than 50 years after it began, the Hiss case continues to generate an extraordinary number of books - some scholarly, some openly partisan - that come to very different conclusions both about the evidence and about the trustworthiness of the witnesses and lawyers involved.

Books that are out of print might be obtained online at www.abebooks.com, a Web site representing used bookstores across the country. This bibliography-in-progress will become even more comprehensive with your help. Please feel free to email the Webmaster with any suggested titles. Browse or jump ahead to the section which interests you: 


Book Review Section

Be sure to visit our book
review section!

 Books that deal specifically with the Hiss Case, all or in part:


Andrews, Bert & Andrews, Peter, "A Tragedy of History: A Journalist's Confidential Role in The Hiss-Chambers Case;" Robert B. Luce, Washington D.C.: 1962.
Bert Andrews, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New York Herald Tribune, went from covering the case to being a close adviser to Richard Nixon - while the story was breaking. This is his story. 
 
 
 
 



Chambers, Whittaker, "Witness;" Random House, New York: 1952. 

Chambers' best-selling autobiography presents his side of the Hiss case and tells of his tormented life. Click here to read a review of the book by Richard Nixon's former lawyer, Charles Alan Wright.

 

 



Cook, Fred J., "The Unfinished Story of Alger Hiss;" Morrow, New York: 1958. 

In 1957, Cook, a reporter for the New York World-Telegram and Sun, specializing in crime and politics, was asked by The Nation to look into the case. Cook, who was predisposed toward the prosecution's side, later found himself on the side of the defense. This book expands on his original report for The Nation.  

Click here for an interview with Cook.



Cooke, Alistair, "A Generation on Trial: U.S.A. v. Alger Hiss;" Knopf, New York: 1950. 

This, the first book on the case, is the celebrated English reporter's firsthand account of the trials, which he covered for the Manchester Guardian. It is, Cooke writes, "a record of the trials of Alger Hiss, from the first accusation to his conviction, to which I hope puzzled and fair-minded people will turn in order to make up their minds about the proper verdict." The book is valuable for its descriptions of the principal characters and their conduct and testimony at the trials. 



De Toledano, Ralph & Lasky, Victor, "Seeds of Treason: The True Case of The Hiss-Chambers Tragedy;" Funk & Wagnalls Co., New York: 1950. 

This is the story of the case from the perspective of two conservative, anti-communist writers who became friends with Whittaker Chambers. Their book was compiled with help from the FBI. 
 

 



Gwynn, Beatrice, "Whittaker Chambers: The Discrepancy in the Evidence of the Typewriter;" Mazzard, London: 1993.

A British writer takes a new look at the evidence against Hiss. 

Hiss, Alger, "In the Court of Public Opinion;" Knopf, New York: 1957. 

Many reviewers contrasted this book, which Hiss wrote after returning home from prison, with the highly charged feelings in Whittaker Chambers' "Witness." Hiss, they said, had written only a dispassionate lawyer's brief. As a brief, however, Hiss offers a solid, thoughtful argument on his own behalf, with a thorough analysis of Chamber's testimony, the documentary evidence and the defense's arguments on appeal.



Hiss, Alger, "Recollections of a Life;" Seaver Books, New York: 1988.
Hiss's autobiography fills in the  details of Hiss's life and career not found in "In the Court of Public Opinion." Of special interest is Hiss's account of the New Deal, his work at Yalta and the early days of the United Nations.

 

 


Hiss, Tony, "Laughing Last," Houghton Mifflin, Boston: 1977. 

Tony Hiss's affectionate look at his dad. This is a short biography, written with a light touch.

 

 



Hiss, Tony, "The View From Alger's Window: A Son's Memoir;" Knopf, New York: 1998. (paperback edition, with a new afterword, Vintage Books, New York: 2000) 

Using his father's never-before-published prison letters, Hiss has written a moving elegy to his father's memory, portraying his father as a person not a headline.



Jowitt, The Earl, "The Strange Case of Alger Hiss;" Doubleday, New York: 1953. 

In one of the first analyses of the case, a former Lord Chancellor and Attorney General of Great Britain looks at it from the time the charges appeared in the newspapers until the guilty verdict in 1950. Jowitt raises serious questions about the verdict and notes that, based on the evidence presented, Hiss would never have been convicted in British courts.



Levitt, Morton and Levitt, Michael, "A Tissue of Lies," McGraw Hill, New York: 1979. 
An analysis of the case by a father-and-son team, in which the authors argue that both Hiss and Chambers were liars. 


Roberts, Martin, "Secret History," self published, Brussels, 2012.
Secret History by Martin Roberts - click to purchase Click here to read an excerpt. Mr. Roberts can be reached at: martin.scribe@hotmail.com

 

 



Massing, Hede
, "This Deception;" Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York: 1951.
The autobiography of a woman who testified for the prosecution at the Hiss trials that Hiss was a member of the Communist Party. 

 

 



Moore, William Howard, "Two Foolish Men: The True Story of the Friendship Between Alger Hiss and Whittaker Chambers;" Moorop Press Portland, Oregon: 1987.

This short book provides a character analysis of both Hiss and Chambers, as well as bringing a common-sense approach to Hiss case evidence.  



Nixon, Richard M., "Six Crises;" Doubleday, New York: 1962.

In this, Nixon's first autobiography, the first of his six crises is the Hiss case. Nixon points to the case as his first major success, sending him on the road to the presidency. The book unintentionally raised doubts about the authenticity of the typewriter that was an important exhibit in the Hiss trials.

Click here  to read more about the typewriter controversy.


Rabinowitz, Victor, "Unrepentant Leftist: A Lawyer's Memoir;" University of Illinois, Urbana and Chicago: 1996.

Victor Rabinowitz represented Hiss in his coram nobis suit filed in 1978. He devotes a chapter of his memoir to the Hiss case and the new evidence of Hiss's innocence found in the release of government documents under the Freedom of Information Act in the 1970s.

Click here to read more about Hiss's coram nobis suit.


Reuben, William A., "Footnote on an Historic Case;" The Nation Institute, New York: 1983. 

This is a line-by-line refutation of Federal Judge Richard Owen's decision, denying Hiss's coram nobis petition. Reuben scrutinizes Owen's decision, challenging what he sees as the judge's misrepresentation of the facts. Reuben builds a powerful argument on Hiss's behalf that the guilty decision should have been overturned because of prosecutorial misconduct.


Reuben, William A., "The Honorable Mr. Nixon; Action," New York: 1956.

This book, with its tongue-in-cheek title, focuses on Richard Nixon's role in the case as a member of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Included also are a chronology and excerpts from Hiss's motion for a new trial, which contains evidence gathered after the guilty verdict.

Click here to read excerpts from William A. Reuben's latest book.

 



Seth, Ronald, "The Sleeping Truth: The Hiss-Chambers Affair Reappraised;" Hart, London: 1968. 

Seth is a British writer with a fascination for the case. He uses his expertise in espionage matters to offer a theory of his own - that the KGB, looking to harm Truman, forged the typewriter and documents while using Chambers as a pawn for its interests. 

 



Smith, John Chabot, "Alger Hiss: The True Story;" Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York: 1976. 

Part biography and part analysis of the case, this book examines the trial evidence and argues for Hiss's innocence. Smith, who covered the trials as a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune, carefully re-examines the documents placed in evidence by the government.

Click here for more on the Pumpkin Papers



Stripling, Robert, "The Red Plot Against America;" Bell, Drexel Hill: 1949.

An early account of the case written by the House Un-American Activities' chief investigator. 


Tanenhaus Sam, "Whittaker Chambers, A Biography;" Random House, New York: 1997. 

This favorable account of Chambers' life was a National Book Award finalist. Tanenhaus presents Chambers as one of the most important American intellectuals of the 20th century.  

 

 

 


Weinstein, Allen, "Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case;" Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1978. 

This influential book by a history professor makes use of Hiss's defense files and concludes Hiss was guilty as charged. For some, the book is the definitive answer to the Hiss case. Weinstein's scholarship has been challenged by a number of scholars and journalists, most notably by Victor Navasky in The Nation. 

 


White, G. Edward, "Alger Hiss's Looking-Glass Wars: The Covert Life of a Spviet Spy," Oxford University Press, New York: 2004.

This biography purports to explain Hiss's alleged lifelong patterns of denial and duplicity. For a response to the book, click here.


Worth, E. J., "Whittaker Chambers: The Secret Confession;" Mazzard, London: 1993. 

A psycho-biography by a former British intelligence agent, which analyzes Chambers' literary efforts for clues to his actions and motivations in the Hiss case.


Zeligs, Meyer A., M.D. "Friendship & Fraticide: An Analysis of Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss;" Viking, New York: 1967.

Zeligs, a psychoanalyst, set out to write a psychological study of Hiss and Chambers and found himself doing his own investigations into the case. Interviewing many of the principals, he turns up previously unconsidered evidence. Zeligs draws parallels between Hiss and others accused by Chambers for reasons that, in Zeligs' analysis, were political, personal and psychological.  

"In Re Alger Hiss," Hill and Wang, New York: 1980. 

This is a reproduction of Hiss's coram nobis petition, filed in 1978, in which he asked the courts to overturn his guilty verdict due to prosecutorial misconduct. The new information was uncovered in government documents produced under the Freedom of Information Act. The book includes many of the government documents. 


"In Re Alger Hiss," Volume II, Hill and Wang, New York: 1980; 

This is a companion volume to the original coram nobis petition and includes Hiss's brief in support of his original motion, additional arguments and released government documents. 



The following books focus largely on the Cold War or the McCarthy era. These books offer valuable context and some discussion on the Hiss case:



Abt, John J., "Advocate and Activist: Memoirs of an American Communist Lawyer;" University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago: 1993.

Archer, Jules, "Treason in America: Disloyalty Versus Dissent"; Hawthorne Books, New York: 1971.

Belfrage, Sally, "Un-American Activities: A Memoir of the Fifties"; Harper Collins, New York: 1994. 

Bovere, Margaret, "Treason in the Twentieth Century;" G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York: 1961

Buckley, William F. & Editors of National Review, "The Committee and Its Critics: A Calm Review of the House."

"Committee on Un-American Activities;" G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York: 1962. 

Caute, David, "The Great Fear: The Anti-Communist Purge Under Truman and Eisenhower;" Simon and Schuster, New York: 1978.

Cook, Fred J., "The FBI Nobody Knows;" Macmillan, New York: 1964.

Cook, Fred J., "The Nightmare Decade: The Life and Times of Senator Joe McCarthy;" Random House, New York: 1971.

Compton, James V., "Anti-Communism in American Life Since the Second World War;" Forum Press, St. Charles, MI.: 1973. 

Coulter, Ann, "Treason: Liberal Treachery From the Cold War to the War on Terrorism;" Crown Forum, New York: 2003. Click here to read an analysis of Coulter's chapter on Alger Hiss.

Fariello, Griffin, "Red Scare: Memories of the American Inquisition;" Norton, New York: 1995.

This book includes an interview with Alger Hiss.

Goodman, Walter, "The Committee: The Extraordinary Career of the House Committee on Un-American Activities;" Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York: 1968.

Goldman, Eric F., "The Crucial Decade: America 1945-1955;" Knopf, New York: 1956. 

Goulden, Joseph C., "The Best Years 1945-1950; Atheneum," New York: 1976. 

Hellman, Lillian, "Scoundrel Time;" Little, Brown & Co., Boston: 1976.

Hiss, Alger, "Yalta: Modern American Myth;" The Pocket Book Magazine No. 3, September 1955. 

Huss, Pierre J. & Carpozi, George Jr., "Red Spies in the U.N.;" Coward-McCann, Inc., New York: 1965. 

Kennan, George F., "Russia and the West Under Lenin and Stalin;" Mentor Books, New York: 1960. 

Klehr, Harvey, Haynes, John Earl and Firsov, Fridrikh Igorevich; "The Secret World of American Communism;" Yale University Press, New Haven: 1995. 

The authors mine newly released American and Russian documents to assert that postwar fears of communist subversion were well-grounded.This scholarship in this book has been questioned. Click here to read a review by William A. Reuben.
La Feber, Walter, "America, Russia and the Cold War: 1945-1980," 4th edition; John Weley & Sons, New York: 1967. 

Packer, Herbert, "Ex-Communist Witness;" Stanford University Press, Stanford: 1962. 

Shrecker, Ellen, "Many are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America;" Princeton University Press, Princeton: 1998. 

Schultz, Bud and Ruth, "It Did Happen Here: Recollections of Political Repression in America;" University of California Press, 1989. 

An oral history that includes recollections of a number of McCarthy-era victims, and also chronicles political repression throughout the 20th century. 

Theorharis, Athan, ed. "Beyond the Hiss Case, the FBI, and the Cold War;" Temple University Press, 1982.

Weinstein, Allen and Vassiliev, Alexander, "The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America-The Stalin Era;" Random House: 1999

Weinstein's Russian co-author had limited access to Soviet intelligence files. Based on that information, this book discusses covert Russian activities in the U.S. in the 1930s and 1940s. Like Weinstein's "Perjury," its scholarship and methodologies have been challenged.


The following books mention Alger Hiss or concern issues and people related to the case: 

Acheson, Dean, "Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department;" W. W. Norton & Co. Inc., New York: 1969.

Alperovitz, Gar, "The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb;" Vintage Books, New York: 1995. 

Andrews, Chrisher & Gordievsky, Oleg, "KGB: The Inside Story of Its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev;" Harper Collins, New York: 1990. 

Berle, Adolf A., "Navigating the Rapids 1918-1971;" Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., New York: 1973. 

Brower, Brock, "Other Loyalties; A Politics of Personalities;" Atheneum, New York: 1968. 

"Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Year Book, 1947," Washington D.C.: 1947. 

Chambers, Whittaker, "Cold Friday;" Random House, New York: 1964.

Chambers, Whittaker, "Odyessy of a Friend: Letters to William F. Buckley;" National Review, New York: 1969. 

Clubb, Edmund O., "The Witness and I;" Columbia University Press, New York: 1975. 

Cook, Fred J., "Maverick: Fifty Years of Investigative Reporting;" Putnam, New York: 1984. 

Costello, John and Tsarev, Oleg, "Deadly Illusions;" Crown Publishers, New York: 1993. 

Davis, Kenneth S., "FDR: The New Deal Years 1933-1937;" Random House, New York: 1979.

Demaris, Ovid, "The Director: An Oral Biography of J. Edgar Hoover;" Harper's Magazine Press, New York: 1975. 

Dean, John, "Blind Ambition: The White House Years;" Simon & Schuster, New York: 1976.

Dennis, Peggy, "The Autobiography of An American Communist: A Personal View of A Political Life 1925-1975;" Lawrence Hill & Co. and Creature Arts Book Co., Westport/Berkeley: 1977 

Douglas, William O., "Go East, Young Man;" Random House, New York: 1974.

Draper, Theodore, "The Roots of American Communism;" Viking Press, New York: 1957. 

Furneaux, Rupert, "Courtroom U.S.A. 2;" A Penguin Book, Baltimore: 1963. 

Halsey, Margaret, "No Laughing Matter: The Autobiography of a WASP;" J. P. Lippencott Co., Philadelphia & New York: 1977. 

Halsey, Margaret, "The Pseudo-Ethic: A Speculation on American Politics and Morals;" Simon and Schuster, New York: 1963. 

Hebert, Edward F. and McMillan, John, "Last of the Titans: The Life and Times of Congressman: F. Edward Hebert of Louisiana;" Center for Louisiana Studies, The University of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette, LA.: 1976. 

Hershberg, James, James B. Conant: "Harvard to Hiroshima and the Making of the Nuclear Age;" Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1993. 

"Hearings before the Committee on Un-American Activities House of Representatives 82nd Congress First Session, Testimony of Oliver Edmund Clubb; March 14, August 20 & 23, 1951," United States Government Printing Office, Washington: 1952. 

Jay, Paul, ed. "The Selected Correspondence of Kenneth Burke and Malcolm Cowley 1915-1981;" Viking, New York: 1988. 

Kempton, Murray, "Rebellions, Perversities and Main Events;" Times Books, New York: 1994. 

Kessler, George F., "Memoirs 1950-1963 Vol. II;" Little, Brown & Co., Boston: 1972.

Krock, Arthur, "In The Nation: 1932-1966;" McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York: 1966. 

Kunstler, William M, "...And Justice For All;" Oceana Publications, Inc. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: 1963.

Lash, Joseph P., "From the Diaries of Felix Frankfurter;" W. W. Norton & Co. Inc., New York: 1975.

Levin, David, "Forms of Uncertainty: Essays in Historical Criticism;" University of Virginia, Charlottesville: 1992.

To read Levin's essay on Sam Tanenhaus's Whittaker Chambers, click here. To read his review of Perjury, by Allen Weinstein, click here.

Levine, Isaac Don, "Eyewitness to History: Memoirs and Reflections of A Foreign Correspondent for Half A Century;" Hawthorn Books Inc., New York: 1973. 

Lewis, Flora, "Red Pawn: The Story of Noel Field;" Doubleday, Garden City, NY: 1950.

Lowenthal, Max, "The F.B.I.;" Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., New York: 1950. 

Louchheim, Katie, "The Making of The New Deal;" Harvard University Press, Cambridge: 1983. 

Lukas, J. Anthony, "Nightmare: The Underside of the Nixon Years;" Viking, New York: 1973. 

McLellan, David S., "Dean Acheson: The State Department Years;" Dodd, Mean & Co., New York: 1976. 

Messick, Hank, "John Edgar Hoover;" David McKay Company Inc., New York: 1972. 

Miller, William and Leighton, Frances Spatz, "Fishbait: The Memoirs of the Congressional Doorkeeper;" Prentice-Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: 1977 

Summers, Anthony, "Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover;" G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York: 1993. 

Summers, Anthony, and Swan, Robbyn, "The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon;" Viking, New York: 2000.

This highly critical biography of Richard Nixon devotes a chapter to re-telling the story of the Hiss case and Nixon's role in it. Reviewing the book for the Chicago Tribune (September 10, 2000), John W. Dean, who served as Counsel to the President during the Nixon administration, said: "I didn't know that Nixon stalked Alger Hiss based on information secretly given him by the CIA and FBI, making his pursuit of Hiss anything but bold and daring. And this is the first book to investigate (and confirm the possible truth of) the remark that White House aide Chuck Colson made to me one time after talking with the president, about someone's building a typewriter (which would have been fabricating evidence) in the Hiss case. The authors have reopened the debate on whether Hiss was framed." Click here to read more about the typewriter controversy.

 
Young Adult Non-fiction:

 

Rappaport, Doreen "Be The Judge, Be The Jury: The Alger Hiss Trial;" Harper Collins, New York: 1993

This book allows students to re-enact the trial, evaluate the evidence and come to their own decisions.

 
Alger Hiss in Fiction: 

 

Coover, Robert, "The Public Burning;" Viking, New York: 1976

This dark satire of post-World War II America has as its main characters Uncle Sam, Richard Nixon, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and Alger Hiss.

Dick, Philip K., "Martian Time-Slip;" Ballantine Books, New York: 1964.

In this science-fiction novel set in the early 21st Century, Earth settlers struggling to colonize Mars under the authority of the United Nations have erected a statue to "Alger Hiss, the first UN martyr."

Oeste, Bob, "The Last Pumpkin Paper;" Random House, New York: 1996. 

 
Alger Hiss in Film and Video 

The Trials of Alger Hiss (1980), a documentary directed by John Lowenthal.

Lowenthal, a former law professor and student of the Hiss case, blends archival footage with original research and interviews with Hiss and other participants to re-examine the case and the evidence presented in court.

Concealed Enemies (1983), a public television miniseries produced by David Elstein and Lindsay Law; written by Hugh Whitemore; and directed by Jeff Blechman. The film starred Edward Herrmann as Alger Hiss and John Harkin as Whittaker Chambers.

A dramatization of the Hiss case, featuring Harkin's intense portrayal of Chambers.

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