Every American schoolchild kws of the crimes of Alger Hiss, a man whose very name rings with villainy. Communist, spy, perjurer - all of these accusations were bandied around in public and led to Hiss's downfall. Outside the US, Alger Hiss is less well-kwn, but the man who caused Hiss's downfall, Richard Nixon, became torious because of his own crimes in government. Now, prize-winning thriller-writer Joan Brady has written a powerful book which demolishes the evidence against Hiss and shows how Nixon manipulated the press and public by forging evidence and riding roughshod over Hiss's rights. Research for her book followed a long friendship with Hiss after his release from prison, and her curiosity turned to outrage when she discovered how he had been treated. But why would Nixon rig such a case? Brady explains that he needed to establish anti-communist credentials at a time of Red-hunting hysteria in the US at the time he was standing as a right-wing candidate, and Hiss was his scapegoat, just as Alfred Dreyfus in France in 1894 was convicted of espionage on a wave of anti-semitism. Dreyfus was eventually cleared of his crimes; Alger Hiss never has been. Brady draws strong parallels with today, with the war on terrorism sometimes being used to silence or threaten critics of government policies in the US and the UK. Written in a vivid and personal style, America's Dreyfus reads like a one of Brady's thrillers, although every word is true.
Joan Brady was the first woman to win the Whitbread Book of the Year Award, now the Costa, for her novel, Theory of War. She went on to write several more highly successful novels and thrillers. This is her second nonfiction book.