Jan 11, 2023
Episode 2: About Chambers’ early and communist years, here are some references:
1) Chambers’ autobiography Witness, the first 450 pages. The book is still in print and, like most books about this case, can be found on Amazon and eBay. One reviewer said that Chambers’ description of his middle class family’s wreckage was heart-breaking. One might compare it to Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman or Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night. Chambers’ description of his life in the Communist movement (above ground and underground and his attempt to escape) has been compared to Dante’s Inferno.
2) Professor Weinstein’s Perjury (referenced above) at 92-106, 110-42, 148-64, and 325-33.
3) Friendship and Fratricide: An Analysis of Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss, by Meyer M. Zeligs, M.D. This is a psychobiography of Hiss and Chambers, painting Chambers in a lugubrious light. See pages 27-132, 201-74. I have no expertise in psychiatry or related fields, but to me this book seems a relic of 1950s/60s psychiatry, when Freud was compared to Aristotle and Copernicus. The eminent liberal intellectual Lionel Trilling (an admirer of Chambers), wrote that “no other work does as much as this one to bring into question the viability of the infant discipline of psycho-history.” I include it here, not only because it may have some value today, but mostly because it shows that the real facts of Chambers’ life can be used, by skillful hands and a determined mind, to make him seem lunatic.