Alger Hiss

Why He Chose Treason

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In 1948, former U.S. State Department official Alger Hiss was accused of being a Soviet spy. Because the statute of limitations on espionage had run out, he was convicted only of perjury. Decades later—after the Hiss trial had been long forgotten by most—archival evidence surfaced confirming the accusations: a public servant with access to classified documents had indeed passed crucial information to the Soviets for more than a decade.

Yet many on the American left still consider Hiss an iconic figure—an innocent victim accused of unsubstantiated crimes. They prefer to focus on the collectivist ideals Hiss stood for, rather than confront the reality of a man who systemically and methodically betrayed his country.

Former U.S. Intelligence analyst Christina Shelton employs an in-depth knowledge of Soviet intelligence affairs as well as recently released Hungarian and KGB archival material to shine a fresh light on one of the most famous U.S. espionage cases. The story is dramatic, but Shelton’s analysis goes beyond sensationalism as she explores both the ideological motivation behind Hiss’s behavior and the lasting influence it has had on U.S. foreign policy.
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  • Threshold Editions | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451655438 | 
  • April 2013
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Video

Interview with Christina Shelton author of Alger Hiss Why He Chose Treason

A biography of accused Soviet spy Alger Hiss with analysis of his guilt and how it continues to inform today’s cultural war.

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