The View from Alger's Window

The View from Alger's Window : A Son's Memoir

By (author) Tony Hiss

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The View from Alger's Window is Tony Hiss's memoir of the trial and imprisonment of one of the most famous victims of the Cold War witch-hunts: his father. Tony Hiss was seven years old when Whittaker Chambers first accused Alger Hiss of passing secrets to the Russians. For the rest of his childhood, Tony and his family experienced the cruelties and intimidations of the time.Drawing on hundreds of letters Alger sent from prison, the author counters public perceptions of Hiss and shows the fundamental decency and essential goodness of his father and, along the way, draws a compelling portrait of an innocent man. At the same time he lets us see how adversity drew this father and son together, allowing them to achieve a closeness they might never have been able to otherwise. Here is the father who wrote home about pheasants at play on the prison grounds, the importance of Picasso, and the tender business of parenting from a distance. Here, too, is the son whose "duck-and-cover" fears paled in comparison to the terror of seeing justice wielded as an instrument of torture.

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  • Paperback | 253 pages
  • 133.4 x 204.2 x 15.5mm | 278.68g
  • 11 Jul 2000
  • Random House USA Inc
  • Vintage Books
  • New York
  • English
  • Vintage Books ed
  • 23 PHOTOS & LINE DRAWINGS
  • 0375701281
  • 9780375701283

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Author Information

Tony Hiss lives in New York City.

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Review quote

"A loving, beautifully written tribute by a son to a father who suffered and, in spirit, prevailed." --"The Atlanta Journal-Consitution" "In this intimate and appreciative memoir, Tony Hiss . . . has achieved what must surely have been his boyhood dream: to free his father from history's imprisonment." --"The Boston Globe" "Poignant, wonderfully written and deeply troubling. . . . A haunting record." --"The New York Times" "[A] tender hagiography . . . heartbreakingly sweet." --"Time"

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Flap copy

The View from Alger's Window is Tony Hiss's remarkable memoir of the trial and imprisonment of one of the most famous victims of the Cold War witch-hunts: his father. Tony Hiss was seven years old when Whittaker Chambers first accused Alger Hiss of passing secrets to the Russians. For the rest of his childhood, Tony and his family experienced the cruelties and intimidations of the time. Drawing on hundreds of letters Alger sent from prison, the author counters public perceptions of Hiss and shows the fundamental decency and essential goodness of his father and, along the way, draws a compelling portrait of an innocent man. At the same time he lets us see how adversity drew this father and son together, allowing them to achieve a closeness they might never have been able to otherwise. Beautifully written, wise, The View from Alger's Window sheds new light on a family, a time, an accusation, and a man whose guilt or innocence continues to inspire debate.

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