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Alger Hiss


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About the Author

Christina Shelton is a retired U.S. intelligence analyst. She spent twenty-two years working as a Soviet analyst and a Counterintelligence Branch Chief at the Defense Intelligence Agency. She has also been a staff analyst at various think tanks.


A vigorous reappraisal of the Hiss-Chambers espionage affair, leaving no doubt of Hiss's guilt.
The author makes a good case for the willful blindness practiced by pro-Hiss parties involved ...

A solid look at the specifics of the case as well as a useful overview of the ideological debate gripping America. --Kirkus
Rigorous and carefully documented analysis...[
Alger Hiss] is a rare thing: a good book about an important subject. Shelton makes a sledgehammer of a case...a sustained artillery assault. --National Review
"Shelton makes clear what Hiss did and the impact it had on U.S. intelligence. . . . A well-done book written by someone who knows."

--David Murphy, retired chief of Soviet operations at CIA HQ and author of What Stalin Knew
" A much needed book... With clarity, conciseness, and a sure hand, Christina Shelton guides the reader through what has become an otherwise nearly impenetrable jungle of controversy."" -- Tennent H. Bagley, author of Spy Wars

"A timely reminder that the worries about national security and loyalty--concerns often derided as paranoiac, right-wing delusions--were entirely justified." --Wall Street Journal
"In Alger Hiss: Why He Chose Treason, Christina Shelton ably captures the real Alger Hiss--his path to communism, his treason, and his conviction and imprisonment. Her evidence is overpowering: Alger Hiss was indeed a communist spy. Shelton carefully connects Hiss to his historical context inside America's political elite, which was chagrined and strangely baffled when Hiss's treason was exposed." --Burton Folsom, Jr. and Anita Folsom, authors of FDR Goes to War

Nowadays, few doubt Alger Hiss (1904-1996) was a Soviet spy, but retired U.S. intelligence analyst Shelton writes that his story deserves retelling because he was a key 20th-century figure whose beliefs continue to influence America's intellectual elite as they struggle, in her opinion, against individual liberty, small government, and free enterprise. Shelton delivers a clear, detailed account of Hiss's privileged background, his 1933-1946 government career and that of dozens of fellow traveling and Communist associates; the stormy accusations of espionage; the 1948-1950 trials; his imprisonment, and life-long campaign to rehabilitate his reputation. Despite entire chapters devoted to evidence that he spied, most readers who accept Shelton's conservative editorializing will not need convincing. Those who agree with Shelton and commentators such as Glenn Beck that America began its decline into collectivism with Woodrow Wilson's progressivism, advancing into frank socialism with FDR's New Deal will accept this call to arms against liberals who aim, as Shelton believes, to turn America into a latter-day Soviet Union. Agent: (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

There are numerous books on Alger Hiss and his alleged spying for the Soviet Union. For most scholars, Allen Weinstein's definitive study-Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case (1978)-laid to rest any further doubts about Hiss's culpability during the period prior to 1945. The selective opening of Soviet archives in the 1990s has generated even more information about Hiss and his cohorts, propagating books such as John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev's Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America (2009). Given the wealth of extant literature, Shelton, a retired U.S. intelligence analyst, does not provide a lot of new information about Hiss and his era. Rather, she delves into some of the newly released family archival materials, held at New York University, in search of additional insights into Hiss's family life. The results, for the most part, are a familiar story, but for Shelton this is the tragic tale of a man with misplaced loyalties to a failed political system, who was surrounded by many who refused to admit that someone like Hiss-with his background and sterling credentials-could possibly be a spy. Verdict A well-written book on a topic already much covered. This may be a good choice for general audiences seeking the facts and accessible analysis.-Edward Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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