New York: Random House, 1964. First edition, first printing. Octavo. Original blue cloth and dust jacket (not price-clipped). Some edgewear to dust jacket along head and foot; small chip to base of spine; rubbing to panels with an abrasion to rear dust jacket panel. Fine in a very good dust jacket. Item #79
First edition of Cold Friday, published posthumously by Random House in 1964 after the death of Whittaker Chambers (1901–1961) in 1961. Although Chambers became a household name after the publication of his influential autobiography Witness in 1952, it is in Cold Friday that the full breadth of Chambers’ poignant vision is unfurled throughout posthumously published essays, diary entries, and correspondence. Compiled by long-time friend and colleague Duncan Norton-Taylor (former managing editor of Fortune), Cold Friday documents the despair, illness, and courage of Chambers’ final years after testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1948 and against Alger Hiss in the notorious Hiss perjury case. Chambers was an American writer, translator, and editor who, after years acting as a Communist Party spy in America, defected from the Soviet underground in 1938 before turning state’s witness against the Ware group. After the glaring publicity of the Hiss trial and the publication of Witness, Chambers withdrew from the public eye to Pipe Creek Farm, his secluded Maryland farmstead. There, in his final years, Chambers continued his search for the truth amidst a civilization that, it seemed to him, had taken a wrong turn. Cold Friday endures as a glowing testament to Chambers’ interminable search for what is right, good, and honest in the world—a search carried out in essays and letters that are among the most foundational that Chambers ever wrote. A capstone and companion volume to his autobiographical masterpiece, Witness.