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Athwart History: Half a Century of Polemics, Animadversions, and Illuminations: A William F. Buckley Jr. Omnibus [Kindle Edition]

Linda Bridges , Roger Kimball
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

For most of the last century, William F. Buckley Jr. was the leading figure in the conservative movement in America. The magazine he founded in 1955, National Review, brought together writers representing every strand of conservative thought, and refined those ideas over the decades that followed. Buckley’s own writings were a significant part of this development. He was not a theoretician but a popularizer, someone who could bring conservative ideas to a vast audience through dazzling writing and lively wit.

Culled from millions of published words spanning nearly sixty years, Athwart History: Half a Century of Polemics, Animadversions, and Illuminations offers Buckley’s commentary on the American and international scenes, in areas ranging from Kremlinology to rock music. The subjects are widely varied, but there are common threads linking them all: a love for the Western tradition and its American manifestation; the belief that human beings thrive best in a free society; the conviction that such a society is worth defending at all costs; and an appreciation for the quirky individuality that free people inevitably develop.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William F. Buckley Jr.: "William F. Buckley Jr. is the author of fifty previous works of fiction and nonfiction. The founder and former editor-in-chief of National Review and former host of “Firing Line,” he has been one of the intellectual leaders of the right since the 1950s. His syndicated column, “On the Right,” began in 1962 and appears in newspapers around the country. He served as a CIA agent in the early 1950s, helped found the Young Americans for Freedom in 1960, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George H.W. Bush in 1991. An avid sailor and harpsichordist, he lives in Stamford, Connecticut, and New York City."

Linda Bridges was hired by William F. Buckley Jr. for the editorial department of National Review in 1969, and served as his literary assistant for the last five years of his life.

Roger Kimball is co-editor and publisher of The New Criterion and president and publisher of Encounter Books. He is also an art critic for the London Spectator and National Review and a regular columnist for Pajamas Media. Among his other books are Art’s Prospect: The Challenge of Tradition in an Age of Celebrity and Tenured Radicals: How Politics Has Corrupted Our Higher Education.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1900 KB
  • Print Length: 559 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (July 20, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #439,958 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
William F Buckley Jr. is one of my heroes. I don't pretend to know anything about him outside of what I know from his books, articles, speeches, and TV appearances, but what I read, saw, and considered, I not only liked but am grateful for. How can I properly express my gratitude for the decades of "National Review" (not THE National Review) and "Firing Line".

Unfortunately, WFB died in February of 2008. And by that time he had already stepped back a bit from the public stage (but had not withdrawn completely). During his most active years he could be more often found on the road and at the podium speaking all over the country and the world as well as writing his columns three times per week (later twice weekly), editing "National Review" and providing piece for it, as well. He also had to tape weekly shows for "Firing Line", and at least once in mid-career he played his beloved harpsichord in public concert with Phoenix Symphony Orchestra. I saw him perform once on, I think, the David Letterman show. He wasn't a brilliant keyboardist, but made up for it with passion and enthusiasm. Oh, and there was also the novel writing. He wrote 11 Blackford Oakes novels and several novels not including his trademarked hero.

While you can still find his books in the used book markets, most are, most sadly, out of print. And while he had periodic collections of his columns printed in books, many never made that cut. Now we are blessed with this wonderful collection of writings. Some from books, some from columns, and some from articles. According to the editors, about half of the material has never been in print before. And, if you don't have a handy shelf full of WFB's several dozen books (did it reach 50?), you will find this one volume a great treasure.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful collection of Buckley essays/articles July 27, 2010
Well-edited and spanning the last five decades, this collection provides keen insight into the later twentieth-century political scene. William Buckley - the most intellectual of this period's conservative commentators - is brought to life in this thought-provoking book. Oh how I miss him!

As a man of tomes, a conservative, and a lover of well-turned verse, I looked forward to this book with great anticipation. I was not disappointed. All too often, conservatives - represented in popular culture as unintelligent, bigoted, narrow-minded, and uneducated or a combination thereof - shrink from argument and discourse for fear of the stereotype. Buckley gave us a firm, eloquent, erudite, and unyielding voice backed with incontrovertible facts; with this collection he still does.

Some memorable quotes:

"To be sure, a great nation can indulge its little extravagances; but a long enough series of little extravagances can add up to a stagnating if not crippling economic overhead." - This could be from a column written today about government spending but was written by Buckley in 1959.

"Stifle the economic sovereignty of the individual by spending his dollars for him, and you stifle his freedom. Socialize the individual's surplus and you socialize his spirit and creativeness, you cannot paint the Mona Lisa by assigning one dab each to a thousand painters." - Powerful statement regarding socialism.

and, the final word on Watergate:
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bill Buckley - Still Relavent October 22, 2010
By C2
I just read a chapter or 2 from the hard copy. I liked it so much I gave it to a friend and got another copy downloaded to my Kindle. Buckley's writing can improve almost anyone's vocabulary and Kindle has an automatic dictionary. 50 year old articles could have been written "last week" and still be just as poignant. He gets to the heart of the matter instantly. Refreshing read.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well-chosen collection November 16, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This truly is a "best of" collection of Buckley's prodigious output. There were many essays with which I was unfamiliar. This volume deserves space on any serious reader's shelf.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little Buckley tonic, anyone? June 15, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
More than three years have elapsed since the death of Mr. Buckley, the founder of National Review, among myriad other accomplishments. This latest compilation of his writings is a most welcome tonic for those who have missed his regular despatches on just about any subject that piqued his interest. Of particular fascination to this reviewer is the chapter devoted to obituaries, which Mr. Buckley often composed while still grappling with intense emotional loss. George Will's introduction provides necessary context for understanding Mr. Buckley's influence on the modern conservative movement, and how his efforts were instrumental in coalescing the various competing and right-leaning factions into a more coherent force that ultimately paved the way for Ronald Reagan's ascent to the presidency in 1980. Editors Roger Kimball and Linda Bridges are to be commended for their careful panning and selecting of the nuggets that comprise this delightful cache of Mr. Buckley's Brobdingnagian literary and political output.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Buckley Summation Available
This is a wonderful book of articles excerpts and letters written over the life of an exceptional American. Read more
Published 5 months ago by stephen a. ernst
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome
Published 5 months ago by memphisangel1948
3.0 out of 5 stars Athwart History
Long, long book. You'd better love this man or era to endure the book. Having said that I did enjoy the history and his view of events & people. Read more
Published 8 months ago by sailing
5.0 out of 5 stars Miss his wit and wisdom
I reminds me of the great intellect, humor and wisdom that died with him, and my need for the dictionary built into the Kindle!
Published 15 months ago by BobH
3.0 out of 5 stars Athwart
Did not care for this book that much. VERY much for intellectuals ALOT of bvery long words ..Pretty DRY reading . Would Not reccommend
Published 15 months ago by Alan L. Opie
4.0 out of 5 stars Aspirational, and inspirational
I know, I know, but when you strip away everything, William F. Buckley Jr. and his family and his life was very interesting, and learning more of this chapter in history has made... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Dennis Sirianni
4.0 out of 5 stars Great to read in short sections
A Collection of William F. Buckley 's writings n many varied topics, this is written beautifully in the style and vocabulary he made he was famous for. Recommended.
Published 18 months ago by Picky Shoppers
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a conservative candy dish
If you like Wm. F. Buckley Jr., and you should, you're going to love this book. The reason being that it consists of lots of shorter articles, polemics, and, oh, just read the... Read more
Published 20 months ago by RG
5.0 out of 5 stars The Review
This was an excellent compilation of Mr. Buckley's works. And some of his best stuff. His understanding of complex issues at their most early stage shows what a first rate... Read more
Published 20 months ago by neil sorrentino
4.0 out of 5 stars William F Buckley - The Master
In politics, the idea of a lexicon coming close to that of W.F. Buckley is unimaginable - much less from the Right. Read more
Published on January 19, 2013 by Daniel J. Engelke
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