Books: Jumbled or not, Alger Hiss

Although I consider myself political, or politically inclined, I don't read as much non-fiction, history or biography as I do fiction.

However, this review, which I find jumbled and confusing, about a new Alger Hiss book caught my attention.

I find it interesting for two reasons: one it is more than 60 years later and we are still debating the same jumble that was the Hiss-Chambers case, but two because I had the opportunity to briefly meet Mr. Hiss in the 60s.

I was working at the New York Academy of Medicine, probably scribbling away on a manuscript or plotting my next series of medical symposia.

And in walks, after a brief knock on my office door, this middle-aged, extremely attractive man. He offered me his hand, told me who had sent him to me, and gave me his card.

What was he doing?

He was selling stationary!

I was half his age and blissfully ignorant until later that night when his name and reputation came together.

Did I buy stationary from him? I can't remember.

I do remember that he was charming, and well mannered.

But my observations of his manners probably don't measure up to much in the way of edification of his role in anti-American behavior. However, I gather that Susan Jacoby's book doesn't necessarily make it all that clear, either.

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