First published in 1952, Witness
was at once a literary effort, a philosophical treatise, and a bestseller. Whittaker Chambers had just participated in America's trial of the century in which Chambers claimed that Alger Hiss, a full-standing member of the political establishment, was a spy for the Soviet Union. This poetic autobiography recounts the famous case, but also reveals much more. Chambers' worldview--e.g. "e;man without mysticism is a monster"e;--went on to help make political conservatism a national force.
''One of the few indispensable autobiographies ever written by an American and one of the best written too...It deserves to be recognized as a first class achievement.'' --New Centurion
''Confession, history, potboiler - by a man who writes like the literary giant we would know him as, had not Communism got him first.'' --Christopher Caldwell, National Review, 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of the Century
''Whittaker Chambers has written one of the really significant American autobiographies . . . Penetrating and terrible insights into America in the early twentieth century.'' --Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
''This many-dimensioned apologia, which is also a spy drama, a Quaker testament, and a spiritual autobiography, telescopes the major political and religious conflicts of the century.'' --Booklist
''Written with extraordinary intensity and power.'' --Yale Review