In 1948, Whittaker Chambers, then an editor at Time magazine, testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee. He informed the committee of his long years in the Communist Party, first as a member of the "open" American Communist Party, later as a member of the Soviet Communist underground, assisting in the subversion of the US government, until his break with the Party in the mid-'30s. Among the names Chambers named was that of Alger Hiss, then a highly placed official in the State Department. The confrontation between Hiss and Chambers, as Hiss unsuccessfully sued Chambers for libel and then was himself convicted of perjury, polarized the nation. Some saw Chambers' testimony as evidence of a vast Communist conspiracy, others as dangerous lies that had to be exposed, and still others believed that, even if what he said was true, it still had to be discredited lest it encourage the wrong kind of thinking.
Seventy years later, Witness, Chambers' autobiography written shortly after the conclusion of the Hiss case, can be read as a historical document chronicling a time when much of America's elites, faced with a choice between defending American institutions and providing cover for an aggressive dictatorship bent on subverting them, chose to side with Stalin. More significantly, it can also be read as the story of the ultimately spiritual struggle of one man, sunk deep in darkness but saved by the light, who found the grace to witness to the truth in that world-historical moment.
Whittaker Chambers adresses the polarity of today's "post cold war" political atmosphere and why we were, are, and will always be fighting for freedom in America. Through struggle and inequality, communism continues to appeal to our young generations; however, Chamber's experience reminds us of the real dangers of succumbing to that faith. FANTASTIC BOOK.
I agree. It is a book that has helped me become a little more solid in my faith, and forced me to look away from my busy life to see my soul and others' souls, and see the force that binds these intangible parts of humanity together. It really pulls you out of yourself. The human soul is the main character in this book.
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