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Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography Paperback – October 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 594 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0895260042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0895260048
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,055,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

The idea did work surprising well, I must say.
MereChristian
Mr. Buckley was a national leader who gave form and direction to the modern conservative movement in America.
Gustavo A. Mellander, Ph.D., D.H.L.
So in the end his collection of selected writings speak for themselves and are most appropriate.
J. Robinson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Robinson on July 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
I always thought of Buckley has having four careers. He was of course that TV fellow that talked funny and look down his nose at his guests and viewers on a show that was very successful - Firing Line; he was that business man, writer, and publisher that started the National Review; he wrote fiction spy novels, and he wrote his sailing stories.

Most people would be happy and content to achieve just one of those undertakings. One might imagine that running the National Review for all those years and keeping it fresh was an enormous challenge. I never agreed with all the stories in the NR and conservatives are now much more complicated people but if you think it is easy to start something like the NR, try starting your own national magazine.

In any case I read many of his books and very much appreciated his sailing books. His book on crossing the Pacific "Racing Through Paradise: A Pacific Passage" was one of the best sailing books ever written. Hence the quote by John Kenneth Galbraith, who "consistently writes pleasant tributes to my own books, inevitably advising the reader that my political opinions should be ignored, my fiction or accounts of life at sea appreciated". Maybe you have to be a sailor to understand his books but it is unlikely.

In terms of a biography it would be very difficult for Buckley to achieve the same level of literary excellence in a biography that he might write today as compared to some of his many past writings. So in the end his collection of selected writings speak for themselves and are most appropriate. He does not need a conventional autobiography - his writing for those of us that have read his books are perfect. We understand that was always his strength.

How can one really criticize this book?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gustavo A. Mellander, Ph.D., D.H.L. on March 31, 2012
Format: Paperback
Mr. Buckley was a national leader who gave form and direction to the modern conservative movement in America. He provided the underpinning for Goldwater and Reagan. He remains a powerful voice in the movement.

Clever beyond words, it was difficult not to smile and marvel watching him on Firing Line or reading his many articles. books, etc.

His command of the English language, his quick sharp wit and his polished manners were a thing to behold.

For those who missed those experiences and for those who want to relive them, this collection of his writings provides such an opportunity. They are thoughtful and thought-provoking -- as indeed he was. Prepare to be impressed.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By W. Jamison VINE VOICE on November 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
Thanks to this marvelous (as usual) piece the miles gone by are still with us. I don't know why but I find myself contrasting this favorably with W. V. Quine's "The Time of My Life". While I might occasionally read Quine's autobiography for insights on his philosophy, and find his life much like the rigorous mathematical logic of his books, "Miles" represents much more the sort of days I would imitate had they not already gone by. This is a comfortable book that leads to comfortable hours.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JOHN GODFREY on June 16, 2006
Format: Audio Cassette
I'm afraid this review will be very lonely. Apparently no one is listening to the audio cassette version & writing about it. William Buckely is a gifted writer & his work translates well to the spoken word especially with him as the narrator. He tells of his childhood at some length which was privledged. He didn't think so at the time. His father thought that schooling abroad would be helpful & so to his horror he was dragged away from his idyllic life to boarding school in England for a time. Apparently he hated it. What he does like sailing. I love the open sea too so I enjoyed those stories. It is obviously his first love & he returns to it again & again. He has had a remarkable career as a journalist, commentator & editor of National Review since busting out with his first book a runaway best seller, God & Man at Yale. This was published I believe right out of school, in the early 50's. He has the resources to pursue whatever he wants & he has done a lot be it horseback riding, skiing or riding the Trans Siberian Railroad across the length of Russia. But always he returns to sailing. He has raced extensively, talks at length about the mechanics of sailing & life at sea. He seems to have met everybody & is friends with most of them. He has even gone sailing with a lot of them. He is the man when it come to modern conservatism in America, but there is little evidence of that in this work. He has the knack of seeming to be humble even as he is blowing his own horn. I enjoy the stories as I drive along. Time well spent.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
<i>Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography</i> is the closest that William F. Buckley, Jr., ever came to an autobiography in his lifetime. After having retired from the journal he founded, <i>National Review</i>, the conservative icon seemed to realize that his days on the earth were winding down, that he was in the “twilight of his life”, so to speak.

With the above thought in mind, Buckley decided to compile certain of his columns from over the years to create a narrative of some of his experiences in his life. The reason for this decision is two-fold. First of all, he wasn't sure how long he would have to write an autobiography, or the energy to do so. Therefore, he took a more feasible approach via compiling past essays. The second reason is that he felt that, if he wrote an autobiography, he would simply be reiterating statements he had already made. What is the point of that?

The idea did work surprising well, I must say. With the introductions to each section and column/series of columns (depending on the case or subject matter), Buckley does, in fact accomplish the stated purpose. Via these pieces reprinted in this book, a relatively complete picture of the life of Bill Buckley is woven for the reader.

There were some issues, to be sure. Buckley chose and included perhaps a tad too much space to columns where he had written about people he knew in his life. He was a caring man, by all that was said about him, and it shows here. It's a little hard to begrudge these reminiscences in a man at his point of his life, and I don't really do so, per se. I just think it weakened the book a bit.

The other issue is really one that is subjective, even more so than the above possible criticism.
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