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Buckley: William F. Buckley Jr. and the Rise of American Conservatism Hardcover – October 25, 2011
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“How liberals should write about conservatives.” ―New York Times Magazine
“Remarkably perceptive… Mr. Bogus rises to the occasion, crafting a formative biography and history that is not only interesting and relevant, but an essential study of Buckley and the post-World War II conservative movement. This is an important book. Anyone, of any political stripe, interested in learning more about the rise of conservatism as a movement in the mid-20th century needs to read Carl T. Bogus‘ Buckley.” ―Washington Times
“[Bogus'] discussion of the various intellectual players is well informed, and he makes a useful contribution to understanding the contending variations of modern American conservatism.” ―New York Times Book Review
“Worth reading” ―James B. Burnham, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Bogus makes skillful use of unpublished letters and other contemporaneous literature to evoke the postwar furors that informed Buckley's early career and that prompted his famous battle cry, in National Review's inaugural issue, to stand athwart history, yelling ‘Stop!'” ―Washington Post
“Bogus capably mixes admiration with critique” ―New Republic
“A thoughtful blend of biography and intellectual history … Bogus vividly encapsulates how radically Buckley ‘changed America's political realities ... a feat so great that it is almost impossible to overstate.'” ―Publishers Weekly
“This is an insightful book that will please anyone interested in midcentury American history and politics. Anyone serious about political philosophy will learn from it. Highly recommended.” ―Library Journal (starred)
“Carl T. Bogus has given us a very fine biography of William F. Buckley Jr., the founder and central figure of the American conservative movement. Without Buckley we might not have had the Reagan presidency. As editor of National Review, columnist, author of many books, and host of the TV show Firing Line, Buckley seemed to be everywhere. Nothing like this had happened in American history.” ―Jeffrey Hart, Professor of English Emeritus, Dartmouth College; former senior editor, National Review; author, The Making of the Conservative Mind; National Review and its Times
“I found this book to be well-written,well-informed, and fair minded. Carl Bogus is very solid on the various forms of conservatism in the 50s and 60s and Buckley's role in defining his version. He also includes terrific, lengthy passages on Vietnam, civil rights, Reagan, Mayor Lindsay, Ayn Rand, and Russell Kirk.” ―James Patterson, Brown University, Bancroft Prize-winning author of Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945–1974
“Carl Bogus has given us a terrific new book on William F. Buckley that is neither hagiography nor ideological axe-grinding. Buckley is a serious and thoughtful discussion of the nature of modern American conservatism and Buckley's role in shaping it. Liberals and conservatives will both gain immensely from this readable and entertaining work of scholarship.” ―Vincent J. Cannato, author of The Ungovernable City: John Lindsay and his Struggle to Save New York
“not a traditional cradle-to-grave biography but an ongoing conversation about and argument with Buckley” ―Kirkus
About the Author
Carl T. Bogus is professor of law at Roger Williams University and a nationally recognized expert on politics, law, and the Constitution. His previous books include Why Lawsuits are Good for America and The Second Amendment in Law and History (co-editor).
Top Customer Reviews
1) The title itself is misleading. After the founding of the National Review Buckley all but disappears. If the book was called, "Buckley: WFB, The National Review, and the Rise of American Conservatism", I wouldn't be so unforgiving. In the chapter on Vietnam the author declares that Buckley wrote on Vietnam as well. Is this about Buckley or the National Review? Only two chapters, one devoted to his mayor's race run and the other to "The Loonies", really had any meat. Again, this wouldn't be so bad, but the episode with the Birchers and Rand have been done to death.
2) Inexplicably the author asserts that WFB imbibed his father's politics, including race problems with African-Americans, yet somehow WFB didn't pick up his father's crude anti-semitism.
3) Apparently the author has written an article for the Missouri Law Review on Burke. At every opportunity the author likes to bring up Burke's conservatism (neglecting the difference between British and American conservatism entirely)and the term Burkean is used as the highest praise for figures like Russel Kirk and Gary Wills.
4) Usually if you write a biography of someone you use a lot of primary material (the author has so conflated The National Review and Buckley in his mind that even under someone else's byline it is "Buckley"), like letters and interviews. Nope. Just more National Review for you here. Buckley's famous breaks with figures in his life is hinted at and you will find little to no background.
"The Rise of American Conservatism" is the more appropriate title.
Where is the meat...where is Buckley? Insight into Buckley is limited, dated and superficial.
The author provides more background and fill than is required for a reader with more than a casual understanding of the times, issues and key individuals related to the conservative movement.
The reason I cite this particular biblical proverb is that the information in this book is nearly all new to me.
Going by my limited knowledge of the subject, it seems to me that Mr. Bogus has been very fair, very even-handed, and very thorough in his coverage. But I reserve the right to change my opinion if and when further information on Mr. Buckley and "National Review" should come to light.
Having said all that, I also find this book very readable. Although Mr. Bogus is a self-described political liberal, here he has assembled not only a light biography of Mr. Buckley, but a useful overview of movement conservatism in the mid 20th century.
The details the author does give of Buckley were to me very surprising. I always thought of him as the quintessential Yankee but it turns out his father was a Texan. Also, he wasn't born to some dynasty but was the son of a self-made man. I guess Buckley was one of those people who was good at making his own image.
In my opinion, intelligent dialogue, as well as a coherent message or ideology pertaining to conservatism is sorely lacking today. In an effort to better understand why our political dialogue is dysfunctional, what better source of information than William F. Buckley – the father of the conservative movement? That question brought me to this book - “Buckley” by Carl T. Bogus.
After reading a number of Amazon reviews, mostly from conservatives who seemed to dislike or distrust the book, due to Bogus being a liberal and therefore must have a preconceived bias. On that point, I strongly disagree. Just because one might disagree with the message, one can still have a deep respect for an intelligent and colorful messenger. Despite my personal opposition to their political views, both William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater still have my deepest respect as intelligent leaders and gentlemen. Both were willing to re-analyze and amend some of their positions in the course of their lifetime and still hold to their principles.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you appreciate WFB you will like this book...One thing I wasn't very favorable of was how heavy this author came down on "my man" Joe Mccarthy... Read morePublished on May 18, 2014 by es175
Must admit that this is the book I am currently reading. In the early pages. Looking forward to its remainder. What I have read so far seems balanced and informative. Read morePublished on April 17, 2014 by Mr. Smith
Centered around the fascinating William F. Buckley, who amazed me as a child (people can actually talk like that!? Read morePublished on April 6, 2014 by Reading
Some have complained that this doesn't follow Buckley step by step, and instead provides a history and analysis of the post-WW II conservative movement. To me, that's a strength. Read morePublished on October 25, 2012 by Jason
I agree with the other reviewers in that the subtitle is actually more reflective of the content than is the title. The biographical information on William F. Read morePublished on February 2, 2012 by Samuel J. Sharp
It is important to keep in mind when reading Carl T. Bogus' "Buckley: William F. Buckley Jr. and the Rise of American Conservatism," that he does not intend a complete detailed... Read morePublished on January 27, 2012 by Reginald F. McLelland