"Man without mysticism is a monster": Rare Inscribed First Edition of Whittaker Chambers' Witness
Item Number: 32059
New York: Random House, 1952.
First edition of this classic work, which went on to help make political conservatism a national force. Octavo, original cloth. Inscribed by the author on the half-title page, “For Randy and Florence Crosby, with best wishes from Whittaker Chambers.” Light rubbing, near fine in a very good dust jacket. Rare and desirable signed and inscribed by Chambers.
First published in 1952, Witness was at once a literary effort, a philosophical treatise, and a bestseller. Whittaker Chambers had just participated in America's trial of the century in which Chambers claimed that Alger Hiss, a full-standing member of the political establishment, was a spy for the Soviet Union. After early years as a Communist Party member (1925) and Soviet spy (1932–1938), he defected from communism (underground and open party) and worked at Time magazine (1939–1948). Under subpoena in 1948, he testified in what became Alger Hiss's perjury (espionage) trials (1949–1950) and he became an outspoken anti-communist. Afterwards, he worked briefly as a senior editor at National Review (1957–1959). President Ronald Reagan awarded him the Medal of Freedom in 1984.