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Mr. Charles need not worry about a bleak future for historians. What I wrote was that Weinstein and Tanenhaus ought "speaking loosely" to be considered the last word on the Chambers-Hiss case "until [a] comprehensive and compelling alternative is presented." Mr. Charles takes the view that "valid and compelling alternatives can and have been made without going into extravagant detail." I disagree. Criticizing aspects of or pointing to errors in some parts of a competing account, useful as that may be in correcting a weakness or an overlooked matter, is no substitute for offering a thorough and complete alternative. A comprehensive account tends to force the author to adopt consistent standards of evidence and discourages special pleading or outre readings of the evidence. It encourages the showing of how multiple sources and types of evidence offer mutual corroboration and fit into a consistent and plausible narrative. The criticisms of narrow aspects of Weinstein's account that Mr. Charles cites do not approach a comprehensive alternative examination of the body of evidence and the burden is very much on those who maintain that in the essentials Chambers' account was false and Hiss's account was accurate to produce a thorough alternative. That alternative has not appeared and it seems unlikely that it ever will. Similarly, there have been a number of scholars who take the view that Julius Rosenberg was not a Soviet spy. But the only comprehensive scholarly examination of the full range of the evidence is Ronald Radosh and Joyce Milton's THE ROSENBERG FILE (1983). As with the Hiss-Chambers matter, a full-scale scholarly work showing that Rosenberg was innocent would find an enthusiastic audience, but that book has not appeared because it cannot appear. There is simply too much evidence supporting his participation in Soviet espionage. Yet there are still scholars who maintain that the matter is in doubt and textbooks that are agnostic on the question. But the burden is on those scholars who maintain Rosenberg's innocence to provide a comprehensive alternative to the Radosh and Milton account, and until they do so, the latter have the last word. That doesn't mean that these earlier accounts can not be improved or even corrected on some matters. Weinstein in his 1997 edition of PERJURY brings in new evidence expanding on his original account. One important question he had left unanswered in his 1978 edition was whether Hiss's betrayal of the U.S. continued past the Nazi-Soviet Pact. Chambers's knowledge, of course, was of the mid-1930s, Chambers himself dropped out of Soviet espionage in 1938 and others who had cooperated with Soviet intelligence dropped out in late 1939 in reaction to the Pact, and Weinstein thought the evidence unclear on later years for Hiss. But in his 1997 edition (and later in THE HAUNTED WOOD), Weinstein cites new evidence from KGB archives showing that Hiss's work with Soviet intelligence extended through World War II. In the 1997 second edition of THE ROSENBERG FILE Radosh and Milton bring in new evidence that has appeared since their original account and to correct certain matters. For example, the 1997 edition provides a much more complete account of the life in the USSR of two members of Rosenberg's espionage network, Joel Barr and Alfred Sarant, who disappeared from the U.S. after Julius Rosenberg was arrested. The second edition also noted that earlier it had been presumed that when Julius Rosenberg entered into Soviet espionage that he dropped out of the CPUSA. But deciphered Venona messages show that he continued to be a member of the party and to pay dues through the CPUSA's east coast liaison with the KGB, and that this party liaison (Bernard Schuster, an official of the CPUSA's New York organization) was aware of Rosenberg's role as a spy. On this latter theme, one of the points that needs to be understood is that the deciphered Venona messages and other new evidence shows that the CPUSA as an institution, not simply some individual Communists, assisted Soviet espionage. As Klehr and I explain in VENONA, the extend of the CPUSA's institutional assistance was far greater than we had earlier thought and we contrast our description of a cooperative but ad hoc and arms-length relationship in our 1992 book with the new evidence showing a close and on-going party relationship with Soviet intelligence, with the CPUSA's top leaders, its mid-level cadre, and local officials assisting Soviet espionage in a wide variety of ways. John Earl Haynes