Friday, August 17, 2007


Yesterday I finished reading Witness by Whittaker Chambers. This was my reading list choice for July, but I should have allowed myself two months to read it. It deserves at least that much time.

At 799 pages, it is a big book, but more than that, Chambers was a gifted writer, and I found myself re-reading passages I'd just read or read a few days before in order to enjoy the pictures they presented. Then there was the primary subject matter - the Alger Hiss case - which demanded my attention. I found myself re-reading passages and chapters because I couldn't believe what I was reading. The number of high-placed federal government workers who were Communist Party members or sympathizers astounded me. The cavalier way in which Chambers's warnings were dismissed astounded me. And Chambers honestly tells of his sad family-life, and his search for something to fill a void in his life. He found the Communist belief and wholeheartedly served it for a bit more than a decade, before he left the Communist Party and found a faith in God that displaced his faith in Communism. As I came to the last few pages I was sad to be at the end of this memoir/autobiography/political thriller that had been such wonderful reading. Was it as good as Dad, Grandmother, and Dan had said it was? Yes.

I marked up our copy of this book as I read it, and was delighted when Jill told me she'll be reading it soon, and she'd like to discuss it with me afterwards. But I told her she should give herself about eight weeks to read it, allowing a week per hundred pages.

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Blogger Dana said...

I REALLY need to read this book.

Maybe I'll start by giving a copy to new SIL for his birthday next month :)

Blessings fm GA,

4:49 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

That's funny, Dana! My parents gave the copy we have to THEIR SIL (my husband, Steve) on HIS birthday back in 1985! And I just now read it... .

6:01 PM  
Blogger Meg said...

I have this book on my shelf and I need to read it...sounds like it was a good read. Hope you are well. Check out Wendy and Dave's blog...they left yesterday to go get Peter. How exciting! Miss you. Meg

8:41 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

Oh, I've HEARD of this book but I really didn't know anything about it. Thanks for your review.

4:30 PM  

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