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Alger Hiss's Looking-Glass Wars
by G. Edward White

Category: Fiction / Historical
286 pages; ISBN: 0195153456

Rating: 9/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


Alger Hiss's Looking-Glass Wars
G. Edward White
Oxford, Mar 2004, $30.00, 286 pp.
ISBN: 0195153456

May of those attending college in the 1950s and 1960s felt that Alger Hiss was a victim of McCarthyism and Nixonism. Though there is no connection to Hiss except through Nixon, Watergate actually strengthened the belief that this distinguished diplomat was an innocent victim to an overzealous individual whose ambition made that of Lady Macbeth seems like a schoolgirl. This belief probably still holds somewhat in spite of Allen Weinstein's powerful condemnation investigation to the contrary because Mr. Hiss appeared so compassionately honest while insisting on his deathbed that he was innocent.

G. Edward White provides the readers with a tremendous biography that gives insight into the life and times of Mr. Hiss. Besides the fascination of what made this man tick, Mr. White also describes how Mr. Hiss made a living as a self created martyr who staunchly perpetuated the fabrication of denial. To show how good Mr. Hiss was at propaganda (long before Hilary he made the case of the right wing conspiracy), this reviewer had doubts to his guilt until yesterday, but not anymore.

ALGER HISS'S LOOKING-GLASS WARS is a tremendous biography that reads some what like a true crime book, but is much more as the Cold War era is extraordinary depicted in the background. It is easy to read except that the fascination will hook the audience into a one sitting experience. G. Edward White clearly makes the case that any rational individual will believe that Mr. Hiss committed treason as a Soviet spy. This reviewer is converted. This is a great work worth reading for its clarity on an intriguing person and period.

Harriet Klausner


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