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Slovenko, R. (1970). Friendship and Fratricide: An Analysis of Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss: By Meyer A. Zeligs. New York: Viking Press. 1967. Pp. 476.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 51:549-551.

(1970). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 51:549-551

Friendship and Fratricide: An Analysis of Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss: By Meyer A. Zeligs. New York: Viking Press. 1967. Pp. 476.

Review by:
Ralph Slovenko

'Who is the greatest liar in American history—Alger Hiss or Whittaker Chambers?' The Hiss–Chambers controversy of the late 1940s, one of the most dramatic trials in American history, put 'a generation on trial'. Chambers claimed that Hiss had been his close friend and Communist colleague and accused him of relaying secret State Department documents to the party. Hiss brought a suit for libel. In preliminary proceedings, Chambers produced documents which Hiss claimed were fabricated. Hiss was indicted and, after two trials, convicted of perjury (he denied committing espionage) and sentenced to prison.

There was nothing in Hiss's background to anticipate it. He was cum laude graduate of the Harvard Law School, law clerk and friend to Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Assistant to Secretary of State Stettinius at Yalta, and President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He was the brilliant and fair-haired boy of the Democratic Party. During the course of the trial, Justice Felix Frankfurter and other distinguished public figures, former associates and friends, testified on behalf of Hiss as to the excellence of his integrity and veracity.

Chambers was the antithetical figure: a character out of Dostoevsky, a sensitive poet and writer, member of the Communist Party, editor of New Masses, senior editor of Time magazine. He became the hero of the House Committee on unAmerican Activity.

No less than eight books have been written about the controversy, including one by each of the antagonists.

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