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A coolly objective look at the most controversial figure in the postwar crusade against American Communists. Whittaker Chambers (1901-61) made headlines in 1948 with his sensational accusation that former State Department official Alger Hiss was not only a Communist, but a spy, charges Hiss denied until his death in 1996. This scrupulously evenhanded biography concludes that Chambers told the truth, even as it pitilessly delineates his tortured family background, anguished sexual confusion, and political ruthlessness, which might well prompt doubts about his trustworthiness. Chambers' life makes a perfect case study of the most morally fraught period in American history. [via]