Whittaker Chambers and Ronald Reagan: The Witness and The President

Barb Wire

For those who are deeply committed to conservatism, you will be interested to know there is a new book out The Witness and The President, celebrating and contrasting the unique contributions of two great American conservative leaders – Whittaker Chambers and Ronald Reagan.

About the Book

1927684269Whittaker Chambers and Ronald Reagan–two conservative icons. Both hold a special place in the minds and hearts of political and cultural conservatives, and their names are linked in the history of American conservatism. Reagan owes a huge debt to Chambers’s reflections on communism and freedom, with his autobiography, Witness, serving almost as the midwife for Reagan’s political rebirth. He partially repaid that debt when he awarded Chambers with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984. The two men, though, were opposites in their temperaments and predictions about the future of freedom.

Chambers was so gloomy about the prospects for the free world that when he deserted communism, he stated to his wife, “You know, we are leaving the winning world for the losing world.” Reagan, however, never lost his faith that America’s future was bright, and that the Western world could help promote liberty in nations that were trapped by tyranny and spiritual darkness. Which of these two icons was closer to the truth? This book examines and contrasts the Chambers pessimism with the Reagan optimism and seeks to answer that question.

About the Author

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K. Alan Snyder is professor of history at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. He has also taught at Indiana Wesleyan University, Regent University, and Patrick Henry College. Dr. Snyder is the author of three other books: Mission: Impeachable—The House Managers and the Historic Impeachment of President Clinton, which was a main selection for the Conservative Book Club in 2001; Defining Noah Webster: A Spiritual Biography; and If the Foundations Are Destroyed: Biblical Principles and Civil Government. Two of Dr. Snyder’s upper-level history courses are “The Witness of Whittaker Chambers” and “Ronald Reagan and Modern American Conservatism.”

What People Are Saying

The Witness and the President is a fascinating book. The writing, the research, the scholarship, the insights, and an intellectual depth and historical import befitting its weighty subjects, Alan Snyder has produced a superb work. From the book’s title to its final sentences, this is a must-read for anyone interested in not merely the two principal characters but the presidency, the Cold War, international relations, Soviet history, and even the broader history of the 20th century. . . . Alan Snyder has taken us beyond conventional biography, and beyond ‘yet another’ book on Ronald Reagan. His focus on Reagan and Chambers is completely unique. His book, like its subjects, is without peer.

— Paul Kengor, Professor of Political Science and Executive Director of the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College and author of God and Ronald Reagan and The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism

Alan Snyder has written a fascinating dual biography of two remarkable American anti-Communists, profoundly dissimilar in temperament yet united in their conviction that Communism was utterly evil. Each man in his own sphere contributed mightily to Soviet Communism’s eventual collapse and thus to the survival of the West in their time. But this probing book is more than a simple biography. It compels us to ponder the religious dimension of the long battle that Whittaker Chambers and Ronald Reagan waged, as well as a disturbing question: does the post-Communist West possess the spiritual resources required to flourish in freedom, or has it sown the seeds of its own demise?

— George H. Nash, author of The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945

Alan Snyder illuminates in this fine study that Ronald Reagan’s understanding of freedom, and the obligations it imposed on him as a statesman and leader of America, were forged in the Witness of Whittaker Chambers. This book uncovers for us the truth that the path of liberty is a path of sacrifice and love. Every student of American liberty should read this book, breathe in its contents, and think how they might reinvigorate their lives, their families, and their communities with the wisdom of Chambers and Reagan.

— Richard Reinsch, author of Whittaker Chambers: The Spirit of a Counterrevolutionary

In this thoroughly researched and beautifully written groundbreaking study, K. Alan Snyder convincingly shows the profound influence that Whittaker Chambers had on Ronald Reagan’s eventual political transformation – an influence that continued through his presidency. With the publication of The Witness and the President, Snyder’s reputation as a leading authority on the subject is enhanced even further. Despite all we thought we knew about Reagan already, Snyder’s book is a genuinely new story and must-read to understand the optimistic mindset of our 40th president long before he reached the nation’s highest office. It has been said that Reagan was the right leader at the right time, and – thanks to The Witness and the President – now we understand why.

— Luke A. Nichter, Associate Professor of History, Texas A&M University – Central Texas and author of the New York Times bestseller The Nixon Tapes: 1971-1972


Look for The Witness and The President at Amazon.com.The Witness and The President retails for $21.95

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The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tristan Emmanuel
Tristan Emmanuel is director of development and contributing editor at BarbWire. He is also co-publisher and CFO of BarbWire Books - a publishing company dedicated to promoting both the biblical worldview and Christian and conservative authors. Emmanuel is CEO of www.TrumpTheMedia.com. He is also the author of two books Christophobia: The Real Reason Behind Hate Crimes Legislation and Warned: Canada’s Revolution Against Faith, Family and Freedom Threatens America. Emmanuel holds a Master’s of Theology from McMaster Divinity School. He also loves to sing classical music.

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