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William F. Buckley Jr.: The Maker of a Movement Hardcover – April 12, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Intercollegiate Studies Institute; 1st Edition edition (April 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193519173X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935191735
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.8 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lee Edwards is a leading historian of the conservative movement, having written The Conservative Revolution, The Essential Ronald Reagan, and Goldwater: The Man Who Made a Revolution, among many other books. He is the distinguished fellow in conservative thought at the Heritage Foundation and an adjunct professor of politics at Catholic University. Dr. Edwards lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife, Anne.


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Customer Reviews

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Kudos to Edwards for another well written biography!
Kevin O'Malley
William F. Buckley was perhaps the most influential American journalist of the latter half of the twentieth century, and his impact on our politics was immense.
Eric Mayforth
Indeed, William F. Buckley Jr. was the proverbial "chip off the old block".
Paul Tognetti

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Eric Mayforth on May 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
William F. Buckley was perhaps the most influential American journalist of the latter half of the twentieth century, and his impact on our politics was immense. Lee Edwards chronicles Buckley's life in this volume.

The author begins by describing Buckley's early years, including his upbringing and years at Yale, and then moves on to the 1950s, when Buckley built the conservative movement. He discusses the founding of National Review, and discusses how Buckley united the different factions of conservatism under one tent. Conservatism necessarily maintains a healthy tension between authority and tradition on one hand and justice and freedom on the other, and Edwards discusses the "fusionism" that Buckley used to unite traditionalists with more libertarian conservatives, while at the same time reading the Birchers and Randites out of the movement.

Edwards traces Buckley's life and magazine as they became more influential in American life from the 1960s through the 1980s, discussing the Goldwater nomination, Buckley's candidacy for mayor of New York City, Ronald Reagan's election, and the ultimate victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War. The book recalls the famous Blackford Oakes spy novels and closes by discussing Buckley's commentary on the War on Terror of the past decade.

All conservatives would enjoy this book, but younger conservatives who want to learn more about the history of their movement would especially profit by reading this short biography of one of the giants of recent American life.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dan Morris on July 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"We must do what we can to bring hammer blows against the bell jar that protects the dreamers from reality." William F. Buckley

Lee Edward's book introduces us to the life and ideas of William F. Buckley Jr. He attempts to explore the life of a man defined by his complexity, nuanced thought, humor, faith and a passion for life but offers us only fleeting glimpses. This 191 page book is written more like an informative time line, then an attempt to reveal "the father of conservatism."

Edwards does a good job in the limited space he allows himself to recreate the cold war context in which Buckley was developing and executing his various approaches to political thought. He also effectively sketches how Buckley galvanized the ideas of the different approaches to conservatism into a powerful political movement. Edwards, overall, creates a solid outline of Buckley but rarely gives us the depth of his trademark intellectual dexterity and passion for ideas.

This would be a solid jumping off point for anyone looking to get an introductory sense of Buckley, a true renaissance man of political ideas. For me, watching Buckley engaged his guests on Firing Line gives you a better sense of the multifaceted intelligence, humor and vitality that made up William Buckley and are missing from this book. This You Tube clip with Noam Chomsky in 1969 gives a sense of Buckley [...]

Perhaps Edwards simply wrote too small a book for so large a man.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kevin O'Malley on May 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Lee Edwards has hit a home run once again, this time with the fantastic bio of William F. Buckley. Edwards does a supurb job of capturing all the best in the life and times of the founder of the modern day Conservative movement. This book is a great look back for those of us who grew up with WFB and serves as the perfect introduction to Buckley for the younger generation who did not grow up on NR and/or "Firing Line". Kudos to Edwards for another well written biography!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Wayne J. Thorburn on June 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An informative brief review of the contributions of William F. Buckley, Jr. to the development of the conservative movement in the latter part of the 20th century. Written by the dean of historians of the conservative movement, the author was a personal friend and fellow warrior in the political and ideological battles described in this important book.
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Format: Hardcover
According to those who knew him best these were the three guiding principles in the extraordinary life of William F. Buckley Jr. It can be argued that from his days as an undergraduate at Yale until his death in February 2008 William F. Buckley Jr. did more to advance the conservative cause in this country than any other individual. I have been fascinated with the man since I was a teenager in the 1960's. Author Lee Edwards knew Bill Buckley for more than four decades and as such is uniquely qualified to write his biography. "William F. Buckley: The Maker of a Movement" dissects the life of this intellectual giant and conservative icon. You will discover those who in his formative years exerted the greatest influence over his thinking and also learn who would come to be most affected by Buckley himself. "William F. Buckley: The Maker of a Movement" combines elegant writing with real insights into the heart and soul of this man.

What is so impressive about William F. Buckley Jr. is that he was independently wealthy and could have easily opted for a life of leisure. But that was not the way he was raised. His father Will was a major influence on young Bill. And according to Lee Edwards the elder Buckley "loved America, trusted the free market and hated Communism with a passion." Indeed, William F. Buckley Jr. was the proverbial "chip off the old block". In "The Maker of a Movement" you will discover five other individuals who would play a major role in shaping Bill Buckley's conservative political philosophy. Oddly enough virtually all of them were former Communists who ultimately saw the error of their ways and become staunch anti-communists as they grew older.
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