The Witness & The President

Whittaker Chambers, Ronald Reagan
& the Future of Freedom

by K. Alan Snyder                                  ORDER at

Witness and PresidentWhittaker 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.

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Praise for The Witness and The President

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

The Witness & The President
by K. Alan Snyder, PhD
Copyright © 2015, 2017

ISBN-10: 1546948864
ISBN-13: 978-1546948865

Second Printing Published by
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
May 30, 2017