Notes from the Underground: The Whittaker Chambers/Ralph de Toledano Letters, 1949-1960

Whittaker Chambers, Author, Ralph De Toledano, Editor, Ralph De Toledano, With Regnery Publishing $24.95 (342p) ISBN 978-0-89526-425-1
Whittaker Chambers became both celebrated and infamous in an era when red baiting was practically the national pastime. In addition to shedding light on the era, this collection of letters reveals a Chambers emotionally ruined by the highly publicized Hiss-Chambers case until the end of his life in 1961. Much of the extemporaneous banter is concerned with grousing about the magazine business--Chambers was an editor at Time, de Toledano at Newsweek--and commenting on the major political figures of the day: Stalin, McCarthy, Korea's Rhee, Oppenheimer and Nixon. One senses from this correspondence that Chambers might have been much in demand as a 1990s talk-show opinionist: ""We cannot possibly begin to write the history of our time until the simple fact is recognized that Franklin Roosevelt was an extraordinarily stupid man."" Both men can wisecrack with the best of them, but of the two, Chambers comes off as a gloomy person, weary of just about everything. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
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