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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: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,169 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

31 of 31 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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9 of 9 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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12 of 14 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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11 of 13 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gene Rhea Tucker on January 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover
A thoroughly disappointing biography from several angles. True, it gets the point across, it tells the story fairly well: the Catholic, conservative, wordsmith gave American conservatism an intellectual panache and foundation it lacked in the 1950s, when, in the wake of FDR, it had lost its way. It's true: without Goldwater, no Reagan; without Buckley, no Goldwater. Still, this book was little better than a well-written Wikipedia entry. There is no flair and no depth in this book. Instead of long expositions on the issues of the day, or his books, or his seminal articles, there is very little. Three skimpy paragraphs explain the Vidal incident. Books like "Up From Liberalism" are mentioned in passing. There no real exposition of anything. Instead of explaining John Lindsay, or Nelson Rockefeller, or what was going on at the time, you get a superficial view of what Buckley was doing to counter these straw men, because Lee Edwards, the author, gave these straw men no real flesh. This book could have used a hundred more pages, or, better, one hundred fifty. And pictures? Where are they? There are four small portraits that are strewn across just the first 62 pages, and they aren't even of the biography's subject. Instead there are these four dull pics of Nock, Kendall, Burnham, and Chambers. Why have pictures at all?

As I gave Buckley's witty "autobiography" "Miles Gone By" four stars, this gets half of that: two.

Because of this book, I will not buy anything else by Lee Edwards.
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