Published in 1952 at a time when America was very much concerned with espionage coming from the Soviet Union, The Witness is an autobiography that details in depth what was once dubbed America's "trial of the century."
In this book, American writer Whittaker Chambers delves into the case of Alger Hiss, a politician whom Chambers accused of being a spy for Russia. He also tells of his own role as a Communist agent in the United States and the evolution of his own odyssey with Communism, how he eventually came to renounce it and his eventual conversion to Christianity.
Chambers' experience within the American Communist Party during and within the Soviet underground during the 1920s and early 1930s enabled him to gain insider information, eventually leading to knowledge concerning political rings within America's top political and governmental ranks.
Risking his own life, he broke with the Communist party and began exposing crimes and perpetrators of those crimes in American government.
"The Witness" covers both Chambers' own involvement and that of other prominent figures, helping bring about political change, including a growing movement toward American conservatism.
What makes this audiobook such a runaway bestseller is Chambers' talent as a writer. He is able to incorporate all those things that make a classic Russian novel with a flair for writing that has captivated audiences around the world.
Whittaker Chambers was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1901 and grew up in Lynbrook, New York. He attended Columbia University and bought into the teachings of Communism, eventually becoming a communist and joining the Soviet underground. He rose up the ranks and became a senior editor at Time Magazine. He was instrumental in naming, indicting, trying and convicting former Federal official Alger Hiss of espionage.
His renunciation of Communism and participation in bringing charges against corrupt officials led to his being awarded the Medal of Freedom in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan. He has been called a "hero for any age" as a result of standing up for what he perceived as his public responsibilities despite tremendous risk to his personal life.
Whittaker Chambers’ harrowing account of his journey to hell and back—through espionage, treason, and terror—is, ultimately, a story of faith.
First published in 1952, Witness came on the heels of America’s trial of the century, in which Whittaker Chambers accused Alger Hiss, a full-standing member of the political establishment, of spying for the Soviet Union. In this penetrating philosophical memoir, Chambers recounts the famous case as well as his own experiences as a Communist agent in the United States, his later renunciation of Communism, and his conversion to Christianity. Chambers’ worldview—“man without mysticism is a monster”—helped to make political conservatism a national force. Witness packs the emotional wallop and the literary power of a classic Russian novel and has gained Chambers recognition by critics on both sides of the spectrum as a truly gifted writer.
Witness is part spiritual autobiography, part spy thriller, and part trial drama, told in a compellingly eloquent, deeply moving voice of Dostoyevskian power.
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