The 1990s were rough on defenders of Alger Hiss. Historians such as John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr (Venona, 1999) found damning evidence against Hiss in American and Soviet intelligence files. Accepting the conclusion that Hiss was a Soviet spy, White tells how Hiss conducted his campaign of innocence and explores why he undertook it when he inwardly knew he was duping supporters. A notable biographer of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, White detects in Hiss' clerkship for Holmes a skill at manipulation foreshadowing the future, White argues that even some of Hiss' lawyers in his perjury trials of 1949 and 1950 doubted their client's truthfulness. Yet Hiss never wavered in public, reiterating his own defense to sympathetic journalists and college audiences, in which his own character was burnished as sterling and that of accuser Whittaker Chambers was tarnished. Dense in detail, White's painstakingly careful demolition of Hiss is not a casual read, but it will inveigle, and probably convince, most who are conversant with the case and its decades-long afterlife.