Joan Brady believes that Alger Hiss was framed for political purposes. In 1948, Whittaker Chambers, a former Communist Party member, appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee and identified several government officials as belonging to a communist network. The others plead the Fifth Amendment, but Hiss chose to publicly deny the claim against him. California congressman Richard Nixon pressed the case against Hiss and his victory set him on a course to become President. Brady points out that after years of investigation the FBI found no evidence of Alger Hiss engaging in subversive activity and information made available through the Freedom of Information Act shows that the "top secret evidence" used by Nixon to convict Hiss was not real. She admits her book will be controversial to some, but hopes that historians will reexamine the case against Hiss.
On this edition of Conversations, Joan Brady talks about her latest book, Alger Hiss: Framed - A New Look at the Case that Made Nixon Famous. Brady is a multiple award winning author of both fiction and non-fiction. She joined me via phone from her home in Oxford, England.