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Alger Hiss and the battle for history [electronic resource] /
Susan Jacoby.
imprint
New Haven [Conn.] : Yale University Press, c2009.
description
viii, 256 p. ; 22 cm.
ISBN
9780300121339 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
series title
series title
imprint
New Haven [Conn.] : Yale University Press, c2009.
isbn
9780300121339 (cloth : alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
general note
Series title from jacket flap.
catalogue key
8837295
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 231-242) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2010-01-01:
Journalist and independent scholar Jacoby has written an important book about the Alger Hiss case. This volume is really not about Hiss's innocence or guilt. In fact, Jacoby reports that she believes he perjured himself and was a spy for Russia. The author concerns herself with why, after almost 60 years, the Hiss case still stirs the passions of those who discuss it. She concludes that US political and historical culture explains it. The Right and the Left believe that the episode reflects their ideological views. The Right believes that Hiss is an example of the "soft on communism" approach that the US took, thereby putting national security at risk. The other side sees the battle as an unnecessary attack on civil liberties initially led by Richard Nixon. Hiss himself denied guilt to his dying day--a sure sign of his innocence, according to some defenders. Jacoby knows the literature on the case and the various political climates from the Cold War onward, and has succeeded in writing an incisive, provocative work. As new evidence continues to appear, it remains questionable as to who will win this particular "battle for history." Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. A. Yarnell Montana State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Fascinating, accessible, and persuasive, Susan Jacoby makes it clear why the Hiss case and the diverse responses to and uses of it matter. She will upset, if not outrage, people on both sides of the political spectrum."-Harvey J. Kaye, author of Thomas Paine and the Promise of America
"Fascinating, accessible, and persuasive, Susan Jacoby makes it clear why the Hiss case and the diverse responses to and uses of it matter. She will upset, if not outrage, people on both sides of the political spectrum."Harvey J. Kaye, author of Thomas Paine and the Promise of America
�Fascinating, accessible, and persuasive, Susan Jacoby makes it clear why the Hiss case and the diverse responses to and uses of it matter. She will upset, if not outrage, people on both sides of the political spectrum.��Harvey J. Kaye, author of Thomas Paine and the Promise of America
"Jacoby offers a sprightly and thoughtful overview of the Hiss case, and considers its impact on several generations of liberal and conservative intellectuals. Her nuanced conclusions may not win the approval of either pro- or anti-Hiss partisans, but should prove all the more useful to the general reader."-Maurice Isserman, Hamilton College
"Jacoby offers a sprightly and thoughtful overview of the Hiss case, and considers its impact on several generations of liberal and conservative intellectuals. Her nuanced conclusions may not win the approval of either pro- or anti-Hiss partisans, but should prove all the more useful to the general reader."Maurice Isserman, Hamilton College
�Jacoby offers a sprightly and thoughtful overview of the Hiss case, and considers its impact on several generations of liberal and conservative intellectuals. Her nuanced conclusions may not win the approval of either pro- or anti-Hiss partisans, but should prove all the more useful to the general reader.��Maurice Isserman, Hamilton College
"[The] book is most memorable for the passion with which Jacoby trumpets certain sensible but often overlooked truths."-David Greenberg, The Washington Post
"[The] book is most memorable for the passion with which Jacoby trumpets certain sensible but often overlooked truths."�David Greenberg, The Washington Post
"[The] book is most memorable for the passion with which Jacoby trumpets certain sensible but often overlooked truths."David Greenberg, The Washington Post
"There is a lifetime of erudition-about American society, the Soviet Union, and the way people bend their perceptions to fit their beliefs-in this wise and careful look at an episode that for decades inspired heated diatribes. Jacoby points out that those of us who don''t believe in Hiss''s innocence should still care about the issues of civil liberties that the case raised-and which are still highly relevant today." - Adam Hochschild, author of Half the Way Home and Bury the Chains
"There is a lifetime of erudition�about American society, the Soviet Union, and the way people bend their perceptions to fit their beliefs�in this wise and careful look at an episode that for decades inspired heated diatribes. Jacoby points out that those of us who don''t believe in Hiss''s innocence should still care about the issues of civil liberties that the case raised�and which are still highly relevant today."�Adam Hochschild, author of Half the Way Home and Bury the Chains
"There is a lifetime of eruditionabout American society, the Soviet Union, and the way people bend their perceptions to fit their beliefsin this wise and careful look at an episode that for decades inspired heated diatribes. Jacoby points out that those of us who don''t believe in Hiss''s innocence should still care about the issues of civil liberties that the case raisedand which are still highly relevant today."Adam Hochschild, author of Half the Way Homeand Bury the Chains
This item was reviewed in:
New York Times Book Review, May 2009
The Australian, May 2009
New York Times Full Text Review, October 2009
Choice, January 2010
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Jacoby focuses on the Hiss case, including his imprisonment for perjury, as a mirror of shifting American political view and passions. She examines conflicting responses, from scholars and the media on both the left and the right, and the ways in which they have changed from 1948 to our present post-Cold War era.
Main Description
Books on Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss abound, as countless scholars have labored to uncover the facts behind Chambers's shocking accusation before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in the summer of 1948that 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 turns her attention to the Hiss case, including his trial and imprisonment for perjury, as a mirror of shifting American political views and passions. Unfettered by political ax-grinding, the author examines conflicting responses, from scholars and the media on both the left and the right, and the ways in which they have changed from 1948 to our present postCold War era. With a brisk, engaging style, Jacoby positions the case in the politics of the postWorld War II era and then explores the ways in which generations of liberals and conservatives have put Chambers and Hiss to their own ideological uses. An iconic event of the McCarthy era, the case of Alger Hiss fascinates political intellectuals not only because of its historical significance but because of its timeless relevance to equally fierce debates today about the difficult balance between national security and respect for civil liberties.
Main Description
Books on Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss abound, as countless scholars have labored to uncover the facts behind Chambers's shocking accusation before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in the summer of 1948--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 turns her attention to the Hiss case, including his trial and imprisonment for perjury, as a mirror of shifting American political views and passions. Unfettered by political ax-grinding, the author examines conflicting responses, from scholars and the media on both the left and the right, and the ways in which they have changed from 1948 to our present post-Cold War era. With a brisk, engaging style, Jacoby positions the case in the politics of the post-World War II era and then explores the ways in which generations of liberals and conservatives have put Chambers and Hiss to their own ideological uses. An iconic event of the McCarthy era, the case of Alger Hiss fascinates political intellectuals not only because of its historical significance but because of its timeless relevance to equally fierce debates today about the difficult balance between national security and respect for civil liberties.

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