TIME magazine logo circa 1939

With the help of his friend Robert Cantwell, Whittaker Chambers joined TIME magazine as a book reviewer in April 1939. This followed a year in hiding due to his defection from the Soviet underground in April 1938. Chambers’ second review (of James Joyce‘s Finnegan’s Wake) landed him cover of the May 8, 1939, issue.

By January 1941, he felt confident enough to decry communist sympathizers in “The Revolt of the Intellectuals.” Chambers became an editor in YYYY and a senior editor by YYYY. As senior editor, he called, “I first edited some seven sections in the Back-of-the-Book — Art, Books, Religion, Medicine.” 1

Chambers became Foreign News editor of TIME in October 1944, filling in for John F. Osborne (on assignment in Europe). His cover story on the recall of General Joseph Stilwell from his position as head of Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang army in China proved an early demarcation line between pro-CCP Democrats (“China Hands“) and pro-KMT Republicans.

In early 1946, T. S. Matthews appointed him senior editor for special projects undertaken for publisher Henry Luce. Cover stories during that period include: XXX, XXX, XXX, XXX, XXX, XXX, and XXX.

Chambers resigned from Time on December 10, 1948: five days later, on December 15, the U.S. Department of Justice would indict Alger Hiss on two counts of perjury.


  1. Witness, p. 494

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