- Hardcover: 342 pages
- Publisher: Regnery Publishing (September 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0895264250
- ISBN-13: 978-0895264251
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #596,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Notes from the Underground: The Whittaker Chambers--Ralph De Toledano Letters, 1949-1960 0th Edition
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From Kirkus Reviews
An intriguing and illuminating correspondence between two of America's earliest cold warriors. In 1948, Whittaker Chambers (himself a former Communist agent then employed as a senior editor at Time magazine) exposed Alger Hiss as a Soviet spy. At no small cost, he made his accusation stick, and the liberal poster boy eventually served five years in a federal penitentiary on perjury charges. In the meantime, Manhattan-based de Toledano (then a Newsweek reporter) became a trusted friend of the wary Chambers, who had retreated to a working farm he owned in Maryland. The two soon began writing each other with some regularity, and their letters offer the hair-down commentary of insiders on an eventful era during which Hiss was twice in the dock; de Toledano published Seeds of Treason, a conservative tome; Chambers had an even more successful bestseller (his memoir Witness); the Korean conflict raged; and the political fortunes of Richard Nixon waxed, then waned. Deeply concerned about the Red Menace, the perceived perfidy of the left, and the future of conservatism, the pen pals could be gossipy, even snide, in their assessments of allies, intellectual or otherwise--William Buckley, Bennett Cerf, Dwight Eisenhower, Arthur Koestler, Henry Luce, Joseph McCarthy, et al. Nor did they shy from sharing workaday worries involving appropriate outlets for the articles they were writing, the inadequate terms of book contracts, and the well-being of their children. In like vein, de Toledano (who turned 81 in August) and Chambers were not above strutting their intellectual stuff. The correspondence tails off in 1957, when Newsweek assigned de Toledano to its Washington bureau (within easy reach of exurban Maryland) and ends altogether less than one year before Chambers's death in mid-1961. A contemporary window on a remarkable friendship and a divisive decade, which should give considerable pause to those who recall the 1950s as some sort of golden age without strife. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
From the Back Cover
For the first time: the only known contemporaneous written record of Whittaker Chambers's thoughts during the trial of Alger Hiss. In 1948, Chambers, a former Communist agent, and a Time magazine editor, fingered Hiss, a senior State Department official, as a Soviet spy - triggering the most famous espionage trial in American history. Ralph de Toledano, the Newsweek reporter covering the Hiss trial (technically for perjury), quickly became close friends with Chambers. The two men began exchanging letters in 1949 and continued for the rest of Chambers's life. Now, in Notes from the Underground: The Whittaker Chambers-Ralph de Toledano Letters, 1949-1960, these letters have been collected and made available for the first time. Chambers, best known for his moving personal memoir, Witness, is portrayed here as a man of deep philosophical and spiritual thought. Included are Chambers's reflections on the state of American liberalism, his opinions of Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon, his words of personal anguish suffered after the close of the trial, and his thoughts on the fate of Western civilization.