Countless scholars have labored to uncover the facts behind Whittaker Chambers' shocking accusation in 1948 before the House Committee on Un-American Activities that Alger Hiss, a former rising star in the State Department, had been a Communist and engaged in espionage. In this highly original work, Susan Jacoby considers the Hiss case—including his trial and imprisonment for perjury—as a mirror of shifting American political views and passions.
"This book is a jewel of historical understanding. With wit and psychological insight, Susan Jacoby untangles 60 years of knotted quarrels about the Alger Hiss case to calmly explain what all the fuss was about and why so many people still care."—Michael Kazin
"By turns digressive, intelligent, level-headed, vituperative, maddening and insightful.... [The] book is most memorable for the passion with which Jacoby trumpets certain sensible but often overlooked truths."—Washington Post (Best of 2009 Review)