Skip to comments.Allen Weinstein, Historian of Alger Hiss Case, Dies at 77
Posted on 06/23/2015 6:40:33 PM PDT by iowamark
Allen Weinstein, a historian of Cold War espionage whose 1978 book, Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case, marshaled a mountain of new evidence to argue that Alger Hiss was guilty as charged in one of the most famous spy trials of the postwar era, and who served as the ninth national archivist of the United States, died on Thursday at a nursing home in Gaithersburg, Md. He was 77.
The cause was pneumonia, his son Andrew said. He had been suffering from Parkinsons disease for several years.
Making use of newly available F.B.I. documents totaling tens of thousands of pages, Mr. Weinstein set forth, in damning detail, the case against Hiss, one of the most divisive figures of the postwar period.
Accused by Whittaker Chambers, an editor and writer at Time and a former Communist, of passing government documents to the Soviet Union when he worked for the State Department in the 1930s, Hiss was regarded as a traitor by most Americans but many liberals and leftists saw him as an innocent victim of anti-Communist paranoia. He was convicted of perjury in 1950, and Mr. Weinstein said he had started out writing the book to prove him innocent, only to reverse his judgment in the face of the evidence.
Hiss, who died in 1996, dismissed the book as terribly thin stuff and childish, but the historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. called it the most objective and convincing account we have of the most dramatic court case of the century. Irving Howe, a critic with impeccable leftist credentials, praised it as lucidly written, impressively researched, closely argued. He added, The result is formidable.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
To quote the Obama administration flackmen, what difference does it make at this point in time anyhow???
The Nation would keep maintaining Hiss' innocence even if Hiss himself had come clean and admitted his guilt.
Yes. Sam Tanenhaus’ “Whittaker Chambers: a biography” is the best account of the case, as well as Chambers’ own “Witness”.
I’m still hoping to see the story of Chambers on film. Josh Acklund might have played Chambers well.
He updated the book with new information from Soviet archives in 1997. Although I own it, this edition is not widely available.
Before there was Mumia, there was Alger Hiss.
Last night, I watched the video of William F. Buckley interviewing Allan Weinstein on “Firing Line” .... it was listed as being recorded in 1978.
Buckley helped me learn at least one new vocabulary word, too.... Haha!!! (it was “etiology”).
Hiss avoided talking about his specific case and instead spoke in generalities about current foreign policy. When asked by a questioner about his case, Hiss went on about how the evidence they got on him was acquired illegally, blah, blah, blah.
Hiss never came out and said "I was framed!", instead, he used lawyerly evasions to defend himself.
I walked away from that lecture convinced that Hiss was guilty of spying as accused.
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