FRIENDSHIP AND FRATRICIDE by Meyer A. Zeligs

FRIENDSHIP AND FRATRICIDE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Whittaker Chambers, the Dostoevskyean ex-Communist, repentant patriot, and untidy intellectual: Alger Hiss, the cool, aristocratic civil servant, quondam glory of the Roosevelt Administration, and convicted perjurer. These two antipodal personalities, chief participants in a Cold War morality play and representatives of the so-called ""twenty years of treason,"" face each other again in a fascinating, richly speculative, deeply probing account along markedly psychoanalytic lines. Though Dr. Zeligs makes repeated avowals of his objectivity, there is not the slightest doubt that his work will be looked upon as a most damaging portrait of Chambers; relying heavily on a Freudian interpretation of Witness, as well as other personal aspects of Chambers' life, including gratuitous and rather sensational remarks about his supposed ""homosexual conflict,"" the complex indictment may be summed up in the following: ""The anguish of Chambers' mental state in his last years, the psychic pattern of his entire life, and the mystery of his death all suggest that Chambers' final act was self-destruction. He was...paying in a single act for a multitude of real and fantasied sins, above all for his two equivalent crimes: the psychological murder of his brother and the destruction of his brother surrogate, Alger Hiss."" As for the latter, he emerges as an all too vague martyred soul, without the sinister clinical apparatus arrayed against his adversary, and furnished with an interesting, but hardly conclusive, explanation of the Woodstock and pumpkin papers evidence. Unequivocally provocative, the most ambitious study since Generation on Trial.

Publisher: Viking