Buckley, William F., Jr. 1925–2008
Buckley, William F., Jr. 1925–2008
(William Frank Buckley, Jr.)
Born November 24, 1925, in New York, NY; died of complications from emphysema, February 27, 2008, in Stamford, CT; son of William Frank (a lawyer and oil man) and Aloise Buckley; married Patricia Austin Taylor, July 6, 1950; children: Christopher Taylor. Education: Attended University of Mexico, 1943-44; Yale University, B.A. (with honors), 1950. Politics: Republican. Religion: Roman Catholic.
Writer. Yale University, New Haven, CT, instructor in Spanish, 1947-51; Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Washington, DC, worked in Mexico, 1951-52; American Mercury (magazine), New York, NY, associate editor, 1952; freelance writer and editor, 1952-55; National Review (magazine), New York, NY, founder, president, and editor in chief, 1955-90, editor at large, 1990-2008, syndicated columnist, 1962-2008. Firing Line (weekly television program), host, 1966-99; Starr Broadcasting Group, Inc., board chair, 1969-78. Conservative Party candidate for mayor of New York City, 1965; U.S. Information Agency, member of Advisory Commission on Information, 1969-72; public member of U.S. delegation to United Nations, 1973. New School for Social Research (now New School University), lecturer, 1967-68; Russell Sage College, Froman Distinguished Professor, 1973. Military service: U.S. Army, 1944-46; became second lieutenant.
Council on Foreign Relations, Century Club, Mont Pelerin Society, New York Yacht Club.
Freedom Award, Order of Lafayette, 1966; George Sokolsky Award, American Jewish League against Communism, 1966; named best columnist of the year, 1967; Distinguished Achievement Award in Journalism, University of Southern California, 1968; Liberty Bell Award, New Haven County Bar Association, 1969; Emmy Award, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, 1969, for Firing Line; Man of the Decade Award, Young Americans for Freedom, 1970; Cleveland Amory Award, TV Guide, 1974, for best interviewer or interviewee on television; fellow, Sigma Delta Chi, 1976; Bellarmine Medal, 1977; Americanism Award, Young Republican National Federation, 1979; Carmel Award, American Friends of Haifa University, 1980, for journalism excellence; American Book Award, best paperback mystery, 1980, for Stained Glass; Creative Leadership Award, New York University, 1981; Lincoln Literary Award, Union League, 1985; Shelby Cullom Davis Award, 1986; Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award, 1989; Julius Award for Outstanding Public Service, School of Public Administration, University of Southern California, 1990; Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1991; Gold Medal Award, National Institute of Social Sciences, 1992. Honorary degrees include L.H.D. from Seton Hall University, 1966, Niagara University, 1967, Mount Saint Mary's College, 1969, University of South Carolina, 1985, Converse College, 1988, University of South Florida, 1992, Adelphi University, 1995, and Yale University, 2000; LL.D. from St. Peter's College, 1969, Syracuse University, 1969, Ursinus College, 1969, Lehigh University, 1970, Lafayette College, 1972, St. Anselm's College, 1973, St. Bonaventure University, 1974, University of Notre Dame, 1978, New York Law School, 1981, and Colby College, 1985; D.Sc.O. from Curry College, 1970; Litt.D. from St. Vincent College, 1971, Fairleigh Dickinson University, 1973, Alfred University, 1974, College of William and Mary, 1981, William Jewell College, 1982, Albertus Magnus College, 1987, College of St. Thomas, 1987, Bowling Green State University, 1987, Coe College, 1989, Saint John's University, Northfield, MN, 1989, and Grove City College, 1991.
God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of "Academic Freedom," Regnery (Washington, DC), 1951.
(With L. Brent Bozell) McCarthy and His Enemies: The Record and Its Meaning, Regnery (Washington, DC), 1954.
Up from Liberalism, Helene Obolensky Enterprises (New York, NY), 1959.
Rumbles Left and Right: A Book about Troublesome People and Ideas, Putnam (New York, NY), 1963.
The Unmaking of a Mayor, Viking (New York, NY), 1966.
The Jeweler's Eye: A Book of Irresistible Political Reflections, Putnam (New York, NY), 1968.
Quotations from Chairman Bill: The Best of William F. Buckley Jr., compiled by David Franke, Arlington House (New York, NY), 1970.
The Governor Listeth: A Book of Inspired Political Revelations, Putnam (New York, NY), 1970.
Cruising Speed: A Documentary, Putnam (New York, NY), 1971.
Inveighing We Will Go, Putnam (New York, NY), 1972.
Four Reforms: A Guide for the Seventies, Putnam (New York, NY), 1973.
United Nations Journal: A Delegate's Odyssey, Putnam (New York, NY), 1974.
Execution Eve and Other Contemporary Ballads, Putnam (New York, NY), 1975.
Airborne: A Sentimental Journey, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1976.
A Hymnal: The Controversial Arts, Putnam (New York, NY), 1978.
Atlantic High: A Celebration, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1982.
Overdrive: A Personal Documentary, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1983.
Right Reason, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1985.
Racing through Paradise: A Pacific Passage, Random House (New York, NY), 1987.
On the Firing Line: The Public Life of Our Public Figures, Random House (New York, NY), 1989.
Gratitude: Reflections on What We Owe to Our Country, Random House (New York, NY), 1990.
Windfall: End of the Affair, Random House (New York, NY), 1992.
In Search of Anti-Semitism, Continuum (New York, NY), 1992.
Happy Days Were Here Again, Random House (New York, NY), 1993.
Buckley: The Right Word, edited by Samuel S. Vaughan, Random House (New York, NY), 1996.
Nearer, My God: An Autobiography of Faith, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1997.
Let Us Talk of Many Things: The Collected Speeches of William F. Buckley Jr., Forum (Roseville, CA), 2000.
The Fall of the Berlin Wall, John Wiley (Hoboken, NJ), 2004.
Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography, Regnery (Washington, DC), 2004.
Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription: Notes and Asides from the National Review, Basic Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Flying High: Remembering Barry Goldwater, Basic Books (New York, NY), 2008.
Contributor to books, including Racing at Sea, Van Nostrand (New York, NY), 1959; What Is Conservatism?, edited by F.S. Meyer, Holt (New York, NY), 1964; Violence in the Streets, edited by S. Endleman, Quadrangle (New York, NY), 1968; Spectrum of Catholic Attitudes, edited by R. Campbell, Bruce Publishing, 1969; and Essays on Hayek, edited by Fritz Machlup, New York University Press (New York, NY), 1976; also author of numerous book introductions and forewords. Author of syndicated column "On the Right," 1962—. Contributor to Esquire, Saturday Review, Harper's, Atlantic, Playboy, New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, and other periodicals.
The Temptation of Wilfred Malachey (juvenile), Workman Publishing (New York, NY), 1985.
Brothers No More (novel), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1995.
The Redhunter: A Novel Based on the Life of Senator Joe McCarthy, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1999.
Spytime: The Undoing of James Jesus Angleton, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2000.
Elvis in the Morning, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2001.
Nuremberg: The Reckoning, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2002.
Getting It Right (novel), Regnery (Washington, DC), 2003.
The Rake (novel), HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2007.
NOVELS; "BLACKFORD OAKES" SERIES
Saving the Queen, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1976, Cumberland House (Nashville, TN), 2005.
Stained Glass, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1978.
Who's on First, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1980.
Marco Polo, if You Can, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1982.
The Story of Henri Tod, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1984.
See You Later, Alligator, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1985.
High Jinx, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1986.
Mongoose, RIP, Random House (New York, NY), 1988.
Tucker's Last Stand, Random House (New York, NY), 1990.
A Very Private Plot, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1994.
The Blackford Oakes Reader, Andrews & McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 1994.
Last Call for Blackford Oakes, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2005.
(With others) The Committee and Its Critics: A Calm Review of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, Putnam (New York, NY), 1962.
Odyssey of a Friend: Whittaker Chambers' Letters to William F. Buckley Jr., 1954-1961, Putnam (New York, NY), 1970.
Did You Ever See a Dream Walking? American Conservative Thought in the Twentieth Century, Bobbs-Merrill (New York, NY), 1970, revised edition published as Keeping the Tablets: Modern American Conservative Thought, Perennial Library (New York, NY), 1988.
The Lexicon: A Cornucopia of Wonderful Words for the Inquisitive Word Lover, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1998.
Beinecke Library at Yale University houses Buckley's correspondence since 1951 and material concerning the National Review.
William F. Buckley, Jr., was one of the most recognized and articulate spokespersons for American political conservatives. As host of his television program Firing Line, in the pages of the National Review, the magazine he founded, and through the books and syndicated columns he wrote, Buckley argued throughout his career for individual liberty, the free market, and the traditional moral values of Western culture. His eloquence, wit, and appealing personal style made him palatable even to many of his political opponents.
Buckley's writings are considered instrumental to the phenomenal growth of the U.S. conservative movement in the second half of the twentieth century. In the 1950s, when Buckley first appeared on the scene, conservatism was a peripheral presence on the national political spectrum. But in 1980 conservative voters elected Ronald Reagan, a longtime reader of Buckley's National Review, as president of the United States. "When the tide of intellectual and political history seemed headed inexorably leftward," Morton Kondracke wrote in the New York Times Book Review, "Mr. Buckley had the temerity to uphold the cause of Toryism. He and his magazine nurtured the movement … and gave it a rallying point and sounding board as it gradually gained the strength and respectability to win the Presidency. Conservatism is not far from the dominant intellectual force in the country today, but neither is liberalism. There is now a balance between the movements, a permanent contest, and Mr. Buckley deserves credit for helping make it so."
Buckley first came to public attention in 1951 when he published God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of "Academic Freedom," an attack against his alma mater, Yale University. The book accuses Yale of fostering values—such as atheism and collectivism—which are anathema to the school's supporters. Further, Buckley claims that Yale stifles the political freedom of its more conservative students. Those students who spoke out against the liberal views of their professors were often ostracized. The book's charges stemmed from Buckley's own experiences while attending Yale, where his views on individualism, the free market, and communism found little support among liberal academics.
God and Man at Yale raised a storm of controversy as Yale faculty members denounced the charges made against them. Some reviewers joined in the denunciation. McGeorge Bundy, writing in the Atlantic Monthly, called the book "dishonest in its use of facts, false in its theory, and a discredit to its author." Peter Viereck agreed with Buckley that "more conservatism and traditional morality" were needed at universities and wrote in the New York Times that "this important, symptomatic, and widely held book is a necessary counterbalance. However, its Old Guard antithesis to the outworn Marxist thesis is not the liberty security synthesis the future cries for."
His position as a right-wing spokesperson was strengthened in 1955 when Buckley founded National Review, a magazine of conservative opinion. with the growth of the conservative movement, National Review eventually boasted a circulation of over 100,000, including some highly influential readers. Former president Ronald Reagan, for example, declared National Review his favorite magazine. Speaking at the magazine's thirtieth anniversary celebration in 1985—a celebration attended by such notables as Charlton Heston, Tom Selleck, Jack Kemp, and Tom Wolfe—Reagan remarked: "If any of you doubt the impact of National Review's verve and attractiveness, take a look around you this evening. The man standing before you now was a Democrat when he picked up his first issue in a plain brown wrapper; and even now, as an occupant of public housing, he awaits as anxiously as ever his biweekly edition—without the wrapper."
Buckley presents a fictionalized account of the founding of the National Review in his 2003 novel Getting It Right. Following the rise of author Ayn Rand and her Objectivism philosophy as it caught fire with many mid-century intellectuals, Buckley also weaves the radical John Birch Society and that organization's response to the Communist scare into a novel that a First Things contributor dubbed "fascinating and informative." Noting the novel's strongly factual basis—Buckley footnotes his fiction—Library Journal contributor Barbara Conaty recommended Getting It Right for followers of Buckley's novels, adding that the author's "writing is so polished that he could turn the Yellow Pages into a spy novel or the federal budget into a sparkling memoir."
In addition to writing and editing for the National Review, Buckley also contributed a syndicated column, "On the Right," to at least 250 newspapers two times weekly, as well as articles of opinion for various national magazines. Many of these columns and articles have been published in book-length collections. These shorter pieces display Buckley's talent for political satire. John P. Roche, writing in the New York Times Book Review and critiquing Buckley's articles collected in Execution Eve and Other Contemporary Ballads, claimed that "no commentator has a surer eye for the contradictions, the hypocrisies, the pretensions of liberal and radical pontiffs…. Even when you wince, reading Buckley is fun."
Happy Days Were Here Again, is a comprehensive primer of Buckley's ideas. It contains more than 120 articles and addresses written between 1985 and 1993. John Grimond commented in the New York Times Book Review that Buckley is "eloquent" on the subjects of anticommunism, conservatism, sailing, and illegitimacy. Nonetheless, Grimond continued, "it is a pity his range is not wider. A columnist needs to be able to say something interesting on many more issues than these if he is to delight his readers as much as himself…. Especially among the articles in which he is supposedly appreciating others, the self-serving references to himself occur with tedious frequency. The strongest single quality to emerge from this book is not percipience or wit; it is vanity."
Buckley again showed his willingness to confront flaws in the conservative ranks with his book In Search of Anti-Semitism. It grew out of a special issue of National Review—December 30, 1991—in which he explored the subject of anti-Semitism in depth. Furthermore, he criticized two friends and conservative brethren, Joseph Sobran and Pat Buchanan, for anti-Semitic attitudes and remarks. The book contains Buckley's original article, comments from readers, and additional commentary from Buckley. "Leave it to William Buckley to see right to the heart of a complex issue," remarked Jacob Neusner in National Review. "Instead of assuming that ‘we all know’ what anti-Semitism is, he takes up the burden of sorting matters out. This he does with wit, insight, common sense—and unfeigned affection for the Jews and appreciation of what the State of Israel stands for…. In sorting matters out with the obvious affection and respect for the Jews and Judaism that this book shows, Buckley should win from those most affected … the trust that is needed so that people can stop choosing up sides and start sorting out their conflicts—and resolving them." New York Times Book Review contributor Nathan Glazer also praised the book as "fascinating reading: some of our most skillful, subtle and elegant conservative analysts of political trends can be read here, often in private correspondence with Mr. Buckley. He evokes very good letters—in part because he is such a good writer and letter-writer himself."
In other books, Buckley turns from politics to his personal life. Cruising Speed: A Documentary is a diary-like account of a typical Buckley week. Overdrive: A Personal Documentary follows a similar format. Because of the many activities in which he is typically engaged, along with the social opportunities afforded by his political connections and inherited wealth, Buckley's life makes fascinating reading. And he unabashedly shares it with his readers, moving some reviewers to criticize him. Nora Ephron, writing in the New York Times Book Review, called Overdrive "an astonishing glimpse of a life of privilege in America today." She complained that "it never seems to cross [Buckley's] mind that any of his remarks might be in poor taste, or his charm finite." Carolyn See, however, writing in the Los Angeles Times, believed that while the portrait Buckley may desire to paint of himself in Overdrive "is a social butterfly, a gadabout, a mindless snob (or so he would have us believe) … Buckley shows us a brittle, acerbic, duty-bound, silly, ‘conservative’ semi-fudd, with a heart as vast and varicolored and wonderful to watch as a 1930s jukebox."
In 1997 Buckley continued in the autobiographical mode with Nearer, My God: An Autobiography of Faith. The book represents a return to the subject that occupied the author in his earlier publication, God and Man at Yale: the role of religion in American public life. The first chapters are narratives of Buckley's Catholic boyhood, but later chapters turn to a more argumentative mode, asserting that multiculturalism has replaced spirituality, and defending the concept of sin as useful for instilling a sense of social responsibility that Buckley believes U.S. society lacks. The book was received with ideologically polarized reviews. Houston Chronicle religion writer Richard Vara called Nearer, My God "engaging reading," praising it for the "vigorous questioning and debate that courses throughout." In the New York Times Book Review, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt wrote that "what best invites the reader's belief is the joy with which Buckley goes about his business in this ‘Autobiography of Faith,’" but said that "the problem, at least for the nonbelieving reader, is that where almost every logical contradiction arises, we are asked simply to accept what we can't understand."
As he neared the age of eighty, Buckley produced Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography, a task that a Publishers Weekly reviewer likened to "sandwiching a selection of fifty essays between a brief preface and epilogue." The essays cover a wide range of topics and, not unexpectedly, many decades of Buckley's life. The reviewer made particular note of essays that illuminated the lives of some of Buckley's "offbeat friends."
When not writing about politics or sailing, Buckley found time to pen a series of best-selling espionage novels featuring CIA agent Blackford Oakes. The series, as Derrick Murdoch described it in the Toronto Globe and Mail, is set in the cold-war years of the 1950s and 1960s and takes readers behind the scenes of the major political crises of the time. In doing so, the novels provided Buckley with the opportunity to dramatize some of his ideas concerning East-West relations.
Saving the Queen, the first of the "Blackford Oakes" novels, is based in part on Buckley's own experiences in the CIA. Oakes, a thinly disguised version of his creator, also shares Buckley's school years at an English public school and at Yale University. The story concerns a leak of classified information at the highest levels of the British government. Oakes is sent to locate the source of the leak, and his investigation uncovers a treasonous cousin in the royal family. Amnon Kabatchnik, writing in the Armchair Detective, called Saving the Queen "an entertaining yarn, graced with a literate style, keen knowledge and a twinkling sense of humor [that] injected a touch of sophistication and a flavor of sly irony to the genre of political intrigue."
Stained Glass is set in post-World War II Germany and revolves around the efforts of both East and West to prevent the reunification of Germany under the popular Count Axel Wintergrin. Both sides fear that a united Germany would be a military threat to the peace of Europe. Oakes penetrates Wintergrin's political organization disguised as an engineer hired to restore a local church. His restoration of broken church windows contrasts ironically with his efforts to keep Germany divided. "This novel is a work of history," Robin W. Winks of the New Republic observed, "for it parallels those options that might well have been open to the West [in the 1950s]…. Stained Glass is closer to the bone than le Carré has ever cut." Jane Larkin Crain in the Saturday Review called Buckley's novel a "first-rate spy story and … a disturbing lesson in the unsavory realities of international politics." Stained Glass earned its author an American Book Award in 1980.
In building his novels around actual events, Buckley was obliged to include historical figures in his cast of characters. Speaking of See You Later, Alligator, Murdoch believed that "the telling personal [details] are helping to make the ‘Blackford Oakes’ series unique in spy fiction." In his review of The Story of Henri Tod, Anatole Broyard suggested in the New York Times that "the best part" of the novel is Buckley's "portrait of former President John F. Kennedy. His rendering of Nikita Khrushchev is quite good too, and this tempts me to suggest that Mr. Buckley seems most at home when he projects himself into the minds of heads of state."
A Very Private Plot, Buckley's tenth offering in the "Blackford Oakes" series, takes his hero to the end of the Cold War. Commenting on the author's development as a novelist, D. Keith Mano wrote in National Review: "He is a better fiction writer now by leagues than he was in 1976, when Saving the Queen took off. New directness and clarity jumpstart his prose. He has command of several voices and can modulate each. And, structurally, his later volumes … have had an arrow-shaped ease and purpose." Furthermore, in Mano's opinion, "no one, Right or Left, has chronicled the Cold War period with more imagination or authority."
As its title suggests, Last Call for Blackford Oakes seems to represent the end of an era. Set in 1987 during the terms of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, Oakes's potentially final assignment takes him to Moscow once again, this time to investigate a threat to Soviet Community Party leader Gorbachev. The investigation fades into the background as Oakes becomes infatuated with a Russian physician and embroiled in a confrontation with Kim Philby, real-life double agent and defector from the free world. In typical Buckley fashion, Last Call for Blackford Oakes is replete with references to the history of U.S.-Soviet relations and the author's own views on U.S. politics.
Buckley's novel Brothers No More finds its author departing from his "Blackford Oakes" series. Described as "an epic saga of doomed Yalies" by Joe Queenan in the New York Times Book Review, the novel turns on the changing fortunes of two men who share a foxhole during World War II. One becomes a corrupt businessman, the other a tenacious reporter. Years after their initial encounter, their paths cross again in a strange twist of fate. In Queenan's opinion, the novel's plot is flimsy and contrived, the book "best thought of as patrician trash." He went on to say that Buckley's fine writing actually sabotages the novel: "For trash to work, the writing has to be genuinely trashy, as in Jackie Collins, Danielle Steel, Judith Krantz. For trash to work, the writing has to be positively awful." Queenan speculated that Buckley intended Brothers No More to be a genuinely serious book, but that it falls far short of that ambition. A Publishers Weekly reviewer rated the book as enjoyable, but concluded that "this is just a potboiler, deftly stirred but no match for Buckley's best."
Buckley wrote McCarthy and His Enemies: The Record and Its Meaning with L. Brent Bozell in 1954 in support of the Wisconsin senator who, after the conviction of spy Alger Hiss in 1950, led hearings to uncover suspected communists in the United States. He revisits this subject in his 1999 novel The Redhunter: A Novel Based on the Life of Senator Joe McCarthy. Caspar W. Weinberger, reviewing the novel in Forbes, called The Redhunter "one of the year's best books, full of tension, excitement, suspense, and realism." The protagonist is Harry Bontecou, a history professor and McCarthy supporter whose life parallels that of the young Buckley. Terry Teachout wrote in National Review that The Redhunter "tells us much of what [Buckley] knows about the anti-Communist movement, and does so in a way that is likely to engage the attention of a great many readers who might not otherwise question the received wisdom regarding Joe McCarthy." Fortune reviewer Sam Tanenhaus called the novel "an arresting hybrid of fact and invention" and "a penetrating account of McCarthy's intellectual laziness and lack of discipline, which were heightened by his dependence on both the vodka bottle and the advice of Roy Cohn, his sinister young aide." Booklist reviewer Mary Carroll added: "One can only hope readers will understand that Buckley … is telling only one side of this very complicated story."
Like the books in Buckley's "Blackford Oakes" series, Spytime: The Undoing of James Jesus Angleton is a fictional account of the life of a Yale graduate who served as a spy for the United States in Italy during World War II, then returned to head the counterintelligence operation of the CIA for twenty years. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called Buckley's perspective on Angleton's life "perceptive," but added that Spytime "suffers from glaring gaps in the master spy's biography." David Pitt wrote in Booklist that "readers familiar with Buckley's politics will find much to enjoy here … but those looking for a fully formed novel may be a tad disappointed." "This novel successfully explores the enigmatic life of a Cold Warrior," reported Barbara Conaty in Library Journal.
Let Us Talk of Many Things: The Collected Speeches of William F. Buckley Jr., published in 2000, contains about one-third of the speeches Buckley delivered during the last half of the twentieth century. Booklist reviewer Ray Olson noted that "scattered throughout are delicious anecdotes, piquant quotations, and much evidence of a keen moral sensibility." "From his earliest efforts in the 1950s to the very last page, Buckley's speeches are alive with wit, conviction, and a lucid, fluent grace few of his contemporaries can match," wrote Aram Bakshian, Jr., in National Review. "And they are as much of a delight on the printed page as from the podium. Patinated rather than rusted, they have stood the severest test of all for public utterances—the test of time."
Buckley's novel The Rake features Ruben Castle, a Clinton-like Democratic presidential candidate for the 1992 elections, a charismatic womanizer who used to protest wars but now walks a fine line between the left and the right in an effort to make everyone happy. The true skeleton in his closet, however, is that he never bothered to divorce his college sweetheart before marrying his current wife, a former Miss America, and his son from that previous liaison has now surfaced to make trouble during the campaign. Ian Chipman, in a contribution for Booklist, remarked that "Buckley certainly has a following as a mystery writer, but this book is designed to appeal more to politicos who get their kicks from C-SPAN." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly opined that "Buckley's waspish wit sometimes scores … and like-minded readers will chortle over his satire of boomer politicians' mores."
Flying High: Remembering Barry Goldwater gives readers an insider's view into a number of momentous occasions in global politics, featuring scenes that occurred behind closed doors between only the major players. He discusses such varied events as Nikita Khrushchev's visit to the United States, the 1960 Republican Convention, and his own founding of the National Review and the early days getting the magazine up and running. A contributor for Kirkus Reviews remarked of the book that, "as with anything by Buckley, it is fluent and gossipy …, fun to read and newsworthy."
As columnist, television host, novelist, and magazine editor, Buckley became "one of the most articulate, provocative, and entertaining spokesmen for American conservatism" in the twentieth century, according to Gene M. Moore in his Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook essay. For his role in the development of the modern conservative movement that fueled the careers of commentators such as George Will and Rush Limbaugh, Buckley "is a man who richly deserves praise," Kondracke argued. "He is generous, erudite, witty and courageous, and he has performed a service to the whole nation, even to those who disagree with him." Summing up Buckley's role in the nation's political life, Moore found that his "flickering tongue and flashing wit have challenged a generation to remember the old truths while searching for the new, to abhor hypocrisy and to value logic, and to join in the worldwide struggle for human rights and human freedom."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Cain, Edward R., They'd Rather Be Right: Youth and the Conservative Movement, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1963.
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 7, 1977, Volume 18, 1981, Volume 37, 1986.
Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook: 1980, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1981.
Forster, Arnold, and B.R. Epstein, Danger on the Right, Random House (New York, NY), 1964.
Judis, John, William F. Buckley, Jr.: Patron Saint of the Conservatives, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1988.
Markmann, Charles L., The Buckleys: A Family Examined, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1973.
America, January 31, 1998, Thomas M. King, review of Nearer, My God: An Autobiography of Faith, p. 32.
Armchair Detective, June, 1976, Amnon Kabatchnik, review of Saving the Queen.
Atlantic Monthly, November, 1951, McGeorge Bundy, review of God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of "Academic Freedom."
Booklist, September 1, 1997, Ray Olson, review of Nearer, My God, p. 4; March 15, 1999, Mary Carroll, review of The Redhunter: A Novel Based on the Life of Senator Joe McCarthy, p. 1259; April 15, 2000, David Pitt, review of Spytime: The Undoing of James Jesus Angleton, p. 1498; May 1, 2000, Ray Olson, review of Let Us Talk of Many Things: The Collected Speeches of William F. Buckley Jr., p. 1639; February 1, 2003, Mary Carroll, review of Getting It Right, p. 955; August 1, 2007, Ian Chipman, review of The Rake, p. 9.
Christian Century, November 19, 1997, D.G. Hart, review of Nearer, My God, pp. 1091-1094.
Christianity Today, November 17, 1997, John Wilson, review of Nearer, My God, p. 59.
Commonweal, March 13, 1998, Neil Coughlan, review of Nearer, My God, p. 15.
First Things, May, 2003, review of Getting It Right, p. 74.
Forbes, August 9, 1999, Caspar W. Weinberger, review of The Redhunter, p. 41.
Fortune, June 7, 1999, Sam Tanenhaus, "W.F. Buckley's Auto-Revisionism," p. 48.
Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), April 13, 1985, Derrick Murdoch, review of See You Later, Alligator.
Houston Chronicle, January 9, 1998, Richard Vara, review of Nearer, My God.
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 1996, review of Buckley: The Right Word; August 1, 1997, review of Nearer, My God; January 15, 2003, review of Getting It Right, p. 103; March 15, 2005, review of Last Call for Blackford Oakes, p. 302; March 15, 2008, review of Flying High: Remembering Barry Goldwater.
Library Journal, September 15, 1997, Richard S. Watts, review of Nearer, My God, p. 79; November 1, 1998, Lisa J. Cihlar, review of The Lexicon: A Cornucopia of Wonderful Words for the Inquisitive Word Lover, p. 80; June 15, 1999, Barbara Conaty, review of The Redhunter, p. 105; May 1, 2000, Barbara Conaty, review of Spytime, p. 152; February 1, 2003, Barbara Conaty, review of Getting It Right, p. 114.
Los Angeles Times, August 11, 1983, Carolyn See, review of Overdrive: A Personal Documentary.
National Catholic Reporter, November 7, 1997, review of Nearer, My God, p. 27.
National Review, December 28, 1992, Jacob Neusner, In Search of Anti-Semitism, pp. 40-42; February 21, 1994, D. Keith Mano, review of A Very Private Plot, pp. 58-60; June 5, 2000, Aram Bakshian, Jr., "Music for Our Ears"; June 14, 1999, Terry Teachout, "McCarthy and His Friends," p. 47; March 10, 2003, Austin Bramwell, review of Getting It Right; March 24, 2003, "Objectivist Sex—And Politics," interview.
New American, March 10, 2003, William Norman Greig, review of Getting It Right, p. 25.
New Republic, June 10, 1978, Robin W. Winks, review of Stained Glass.
New York Times, November 4, 1951, Peter Viereck, review of God and Man at Yale; February 4, 1985, Anatole Broyard, review of The Story of Henri Tod.
New York Times Book Review, September 28, 1975, John P. Roche, review of Execution Eve and Other Contemporary Ballads; August 7, 1983, Nora Ephron, review of Overdrive; January 5, 1986, Morton Kondracke, "Right Reason," p. 14; September 27, 1992, Nathan Glazer, review of In Search of Anti-Semitism, pp. 3, 24; October 3, 1993, John Grimond, review of Happy Days Were Here Again, p. 14; September 10, 1995, Joe Queenan, review of Brothers No More, p. 16; October 18, 1998, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of Nearer, My God, p. 36.
Publishers Weekly, August 7, 1995, review of Brothers No More, p. 441; September 29, 1997, review of Nearer, My God, p. 84; May 22, 2000, review of Spytime, p. 70; June 21, 2004, review of Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography, p. 57; April 4, 2005, review of Last Call for Blackford Oakes, p. 42; July 23, 2007, review of The Rake, p. 45.
Saturday Review, May 13, 1978, Jane Larkin Crain, review of Stained Glass.
Time, November 10, 1997, John Elson, review of Nearer, My God, p. 111; June 7, 1999, Lance Morrow, "Alger ‘Ales’ and Joe: Was McCarthy on the Right Track?," p. 66.