- Paperback: 808 pages
- Publisher: Regnery Publishing; Reissue edition (August 1, 1987)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0895267896
- ISBN-13: 978-0895267894
- Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #549,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Witness Paperback – August 1, 1987
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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.
Whittaker Chambers has written one of the really significant American autobiographies...penetrating and terrible insights into America in the early twentieth century. -- Arthur Schlesingr, Jr.
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Top Customer Reviews
The best feature of the book, however, is Mr. Chambers discussion of how and why he turned to communism as the only possible solution to the woes of the world. He was an exceptionally intelligent man, and in his view, there was no other possible choice. In a word, despair led him to believe that communism was the best vehicle to solve the problems of mankind. In fairly short order (10 years), he realized that once communists were in power, they tended to lean heavily on the 'ends justify the means' approach as millions starved or were executed (or worked to death). He later turned to Biblical Christianity as the best hope for mankind, fully aware that there are no easy solutions to the dilemma of existence.
This book did have an influence on my understanding of history and on how decisions are made. It a very real sense, it impacted my life.
This book is normally classified as a political book, and it certainly revolves around politics, but it is much more. It is a rich, inspiring memoir of repentance and hope steadfastly maintained in the face of seemingly hopeless circumstances. In short, it is a masterwork of the 20th century.
But mostly this is a chronicle about Chambers' spiritual awakening, his realization that Communism cannot co-exist with God, that good lies within the individual and not with "group think." Whatever one's political leanings, this is an important lesson.
What was present then and is present today is the differences and distinctive of different branches of government, the legislative, administrative and judicial. The House committee and Justice Department had to deal with Communists in government then just as they are dealing with Benghazi and confidential emails today. They are each political and powerful and empowered by the Constitution. The House holds its hearings and they are public, and there are leaks. The Justice Department receives evidence and investigatory information from the FBI. But it alone has the power and the authority to proceed or not to proceed., and there are political pressures and considerations.
The judiciary stands ready to adjudicate what is brought to it. It does not initiate.
The Chambers issues and todays issues are remarkably similar in that regard. Witness shows that a highly charged issue existed then as it does now. We read in it how it played out then. We will witness how it plays out today.