Saturday, June 16, 2012

Opening Sentence: Witness

Beloved children, I am sitting in the kitchen of the little house at Medfield, our second farm which is cut off by the ridge and a quarter-mile across the fields from our home place, where you are.

-- Witness by Whittaker Chambers.

I have been meaning to read this forever.  But it's hard for me to crack an 800-page doorstop.

I am so glad I finally did!  Witness is Chambers' soul-baring autobiography of his years as a loyal member of the American Communist party (including writing for the Daily Worker), his time as a Soviet spy, his ultimate break with the party and denunciation of communism, and his involvement in breaking up the Soviet spy network in Washington, including his infamous participation in the two Alger Hiss criminal trials

It is an amazing story and it reads like the best Cold War spy thriller.  Well, sort of an egg-heady spy thriller, although it is more exciting and flows better than most Le Carre novels. 

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