THE UNFINISHED STORY OF ALGER HISS by Fred J. Cook

THE UNFINISHED STORY OF ALGER HISS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

..... remains unfinished, but this new examination of some of the inconsistent, illogical and irreconcilable elements in the trial testimony does much to swing the reader away from the courtroom verdict and takes its place along side of Earl Jowitt's and Alistair Cooke's impartial inquiries into the case. Certainly (and this is a rather faint compliment) it is far more persuasive than Hiss' own lackluster self-defense which failed ""to convey an impression of complete candor"". Except for the one issue- that of guilt by association- Cook largely deals with precise points in the testimony:- the ""prothonotary warbler""- Chambers' most convincing revelation; the ""immutable witness""- the pumpkin papers which were surrounded by ""hysterical hyperbole""; the rug, the car, the four hundred dollars, the Woodstock typewriter- and the margin for error in all this circumstantial evidence. The contrasts in the character of the two men prompts the interesting observation that if it was Chambers who convicted , it is still Chambers who ""clouds the justice of that conviction"" because of the admitted instability of that witness. And in conclusion, Cook tosses off a new point of conjecture:- that it was Hiss who figured more prominently than Alger in Chambers' accuracy of identification... Some of this material appeared originally in The Nation and it is finely reasoned and precisely argued.

Pub Date: April 30th, 1958
Publisher: Morrow