Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode


Last year marked the 75th anniversary of the Hiss-Chambers espionage case, which gripped America in 1948 and still provokes controversy. Take a deep factual dive into the story of two brilliant, fascinating men, sensational Congressional hearings, spy documents hidden in a dumbwaiter shaft and a pumpkin, the trial of the century, and the launch of Richard Nixon’s career. Comments and politely phrased corrections or criticism are welcome by the writer and narrator, at




I am a retired attorney and law professor living in Arlington, Virginia.  Born in New York City, I began studying Russian in high school, spent a month in the USSR in 1967, and majored in Russian at Washington University in St. Louis.  One subject that came to interest me was the appeal that communism had to supposedly intelligent and discerning minds in the West, both in the 1930s and in the 1960s.  While studying in my senior year at the University of East Anglia in England, I stumbled onto a book about the Hiss-Chambers Case by Alistair Cooke; a subscription to The National Review yielded me a book of Chambers’ letters; several relatives turned out to have attended the trials and known some people involved on Hiss’s side; and my law school years (also at Washington U) immersed me in the rough and tumble of litigation.  Although my law and teaching career concerned competition in the communications industry (he worked on the Bell System Break-Up and played a role in the creation of the wireless phone business), the Hiss-Chambers Case continued to fascinate me. I read everything I could get my hands on about it (at considerable expense); bored my friends to death; published several scholarly articles about the Case (the most recent of which are available at SSRN); gave two day-long presentations on the Case for The Smithsonian Associates; and posted 38 YouTube videos about it.  
These podcasts are my latest contribution to scholarship on the Case. I hope to interest younger generations who knew neither the Case nor the Cold War.  I try to combine legal (especially litigation) expertise, a mastery of the details of the Case (as opposed to the mood music that makes up most presentations about it), first-hand recollections of the trials and their aftermath from people who were there, fascination with the personal ‘duel in the sun’ of the two unforgettable combatants; and a profound sadness for the destruction that befell Americans who chose to engage in the folly of treason for the USSR.
My written articles about this Case are
  • an analysis of the published judicial decisions about it, Whittaker Chambers & Alger Hiss: The Courts Decide, Federal Bar Journal, vol. 40, No. 2 at 96 (Feb. 1993) and International Society of Barristers Quarterly, vol. 27, No. 3 at 355 (July 1992) 
  • answers to questions I received in letters in response to my first article, Questions & Answers About the Case of Whittaker Chambers & Alger Hiss, International Society of Barristers Quarterly, vol. 28, No. 3 at 363 (July 1993) 
  • the most detailed examination of the grand jury that indicted Hiss, The Grand Jury in the Hiss-Chambers Case, American Communist History, vol. 7, Issue 1 at 1 (June 2008),
  • my response to the most recent conspiracy theory of how Hiss may have been framed, How Alger Hiss Was Framed:  The Latest Theory, available at SSRN (Social Science Research Network),; and
  • my response to an attack on Hiss’s critics by a psychiatrist who befriended Hiss, An Analysis of Dr. James W. Hamilton’s Book “The Hiss Case Reconsidered,” available at SSRN (presently to be updated)

If you have trouble finding any of these, send me an e-mail at