First published in 1952--four years after Chambers accused Alger Hiss of being a spy--this autobiography became a touchstone of the new political conservatism. Once a Communist and Soviet spy himself, Chambers turned on the party after becoming disillusioned by the Stalinist purges. (This was the context in which he made his famous declaration that "man without mysticism is a monster.") In the words of Ann Douglas, Chambers is "one of the most controversial Americans of the last half-century, his life a story rife with histrionic tableaux, profound ideological warfare, and high-level scandal."
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