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The Crusader: The Life and Tumultuous Times of Pat Buchanan Hardcover – February 14, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Patrick Buchanan, an ardent voice of conservatism, Washington insider, columnist, and presidential candidate, deserves a good biography. This is it. Timothy Stanley, a young English scholar and himself a former candidate for Parliament, brings a fresh, outsider's eye to the remarkable career of Pat Buchanan.” ―Donald T. Critchlow, Barry Goldwater Chair of American Institutions, Arizona State University

“Stanley's biography of Pat Buchanan combines meticulous research, including the fruits of multiple interviews, with highly accessible prose and judicious judgments.” ―Paul Gottfried, author of Conservatism in America: Making Sense of the American Right

“The life story of Pat Buchanan offers a new and fascinating angle on the rise of the conservative Right. Stanley's eye for both the telling detail and the big story insures that The Crusader is not only fascinating biography, it is also very important history.” ―Lizabeth Cohen, author of A Consumers' Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America

“For more than three decades, Pat Buchanan has lived a fascinating, aggressive life swimming in the crosscurrents of conservative revolt. He has articulated the cause, not as a sideline commentator but as a gladiator in the arena. He has been often written off, but as a writer, moralist, candidate, and talking head, Buchanan keeps bouncing back. In The Crusader, Timothy Stanley has written a compelling, important history of this durable man and his colorful times.” ―Adam Clymer, author of Edward M. Kennedy: A Biography

“An engrossing look inside an ultra-conservative mind.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Drawing on interviews with Buchanan's friends, colleagues, and adversaries and with Buchanan himself, Stanley highlights the strongly held beliefs that helped launch the culture wars that sharply contrast the visions of religious, Republican conservatives and secularist, Democratic liberals. Stanley details Buchanan's career trajectory, his rambunctious candidacies, frustration with the Republican Party, and enduring influence on a new generation of conservative Republicans.” ―Booklist

“Stanley interviewed Buchanan extensively, which allowed him to produce a cooperative, but unauthorized biography. ... Stanley does a good job introducing Buchanan to non-movement Conservatives. For the uninitiated, The Crusader serves as a very good greatest hits album. For the initiated, there are plenty of deep tracks, too.” ―Human Events

“The reader of Timothy Stanley's biography, The Crusader, cannot help being impressed by the durability of Buchanan's career.” ―The Washington Post

About the Author

Timothy Stanley is a historian of the United States at Oxford University. He blogs on American politics for the London Daily Telegraph and has written for The Atlantic, Dissent, and National Review.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (February 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312581742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312581749
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #855,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When I first opened the book, I wondered if I would finish reading it, but it quickly drew me in and in several days I was done reading it and am writing a five star review. "The Crusader" is a well written, most interesting look at a complex and fascinating man, Pat Buchanan. An Irish Catholic who would love like Mel Gibson to see the church go back to Latin masses, Pat loves to eat and drink. Pat is a very intelligent man who knows his history. He is a crusader for the little person and unwavering in his defense of truth as he believes it to be. Pat in his three attempts for a presidential bid expressed ideas that were later picked up by the Tea Party movement. His latest book, "Suicide of a Superpower" is a five star book. I have also read his book "Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War" which is in a class by itself. While it received much criticism when it was first published and during his presidential bids, undoubtedly by some who had never read it, I also gave it a five star review. Pat Buchanan is a walking history book and most interesting writer. Being so intelligent, people of lesser intelligence either criticize him without having read what he wrote, none of his books are short, or fail to understand what he means. I've found him to be almost prophetically right on in his assessment of political events. If you are interested in the life story of a most fascinating man you'll enjoy "The Crusader."
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ordinarily, I am suspicious of biographies which are written while the subject is still alive. Time is often essential to clarify a person's place in history. Yet Timothy Stanley's biography of Pat Buchanan, titled The Crusader, is a worthy exception, for two reasons. First, and sadly, most of Buchanan's work is behind him. He may write a few more books yet--including, one hopes, his memoirs--but Pat and the paleo-conservatives seem to be cursed to wander in the political wilderness for the foreseeable future.

The second reason relates to the way Americans incorporate out knowledge of history into the narrative through which we practice politics. That narrative paints one side as the forces of good and the other of evil. Buchanan is ignored because he ill fits into the rigid dogma of left and right as diametrically opposed forces. That's unfortunate, because he has much to teach us.

After two brief chapters on Buchanan's early life, the first part of the book deals with the man as a mostly loyal Republican. Probably the most curious aspect of Buchanan's early policies was his hawkishness. In 1970, "Pat sent another memo to [President Nixon] saying that he should hit the antiwar protesters more... What the masses wanted [Buchanan] said, was a 'fighting president' not a 'professional president.'" Stanley also captures Buchanan at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, where he watched Mayor Daley's police throttle protesters from atop a balcony with the writer Norman Mailer. To the latter's shouts of "Pigs! Fascists!" Buchanan returned, "Hey, you've missed one!"

In the second part of the book, we see Buchanan assert himself against a wayward party. Believing that the Republicans had lost their way, he ran against the incumbent George H. W.
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Stanley's new biography on Pat Buchanan is hardly the objective piece of writing its author claims. "Crusader" never misses an opportunity to insert some snarky comment about conservatives or the conservative movement. There are some interesting pieces of Buchanan's career detailed here but the author's apparent, political bias leaves one to wonder how much credibility they should be given. If you are inclined to dislike Pat Buchanan before starting this book you might find it a bit more to your liking.
Buchanan's books get pilloried for broaching subjects that violate the liberal orthodoxy and make even spineless Republicans scatter for the tall grass. He is only documenting what most informed citizens instinctively know - sans the data to back up those instincts. Another example of the fable of the "Emperor's New Clothes". Few of us today exhibit his courage in inviting the wrath of the "political correctness police". Pat is a national treasure who deserved better than Stanley's cheap shots.
a generous 3 stars

I fear I owe Mr. Stanley an apology. The first paragraph of the above review was based on a hasty perusal that evidenced, in my opinion, a few gratuitous snipes. Having encountered far too much of that treatment in other political writing my first reaction was rather negative. I have since had the opportunity to read, from cover to cover, the above book and found it very balanced and insightful. Stanley introduces us to a lot of the behind-the-scenes campaign strategies and machinations that us lay folks rarely see. There are also many interesting vignettes of the important players in Buchanan's circle of ideological fellow travelers. Again, my apologies Mr. Stanley, for not giving you an initial fair reading and appraisal.
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Format: Hardcover
The generous samplings available by clicking on "Search inside this book" show the author's intentions clearly. P.B. emerges as an irascible, quirky, unscriptable observer and actor, remarkably principled and remarkably consistent, and always capable of jack-in-the-box surprises because he spurns worn out, platitudinous, fall back positions and hack phrases. In this sense, he resembles Eugene McCarthy who, after successfully leading the anti-Viet Nam war movement, turning national politics on its head in 1968 and emerging as one of the most liked public figures in American politics, capped his 1968 presidential race by getting completely out of politics and taking a job reporting on the fall World Series! P.B. is of the same mould and full of fresh originalities. He's the polar opposite of rigid political types like Joe Lieberman, Hillary Clinton and Norman Podohoretz who play the same old tape loop no matter what. This P.B. biography is about P.B. as a certain irascible type of human being, with politics the vehicle that he tears around in, reminding me sometimes of a serious, principled person who sometimes delights in colliding with pompous, stuffed shirts by sitting behind the wheel of a "Dodgem" car and ramming into their mentally vacant orbits. In these moments he seems like a detached, amused observer of the human condition --- like Mark Twain, or Lawrence Sterne in his novel "Sentimental Journey".

Those seeking a book that will give a VERDICT on P.B. as an ideologue (i.e., were his positions holy or damnable, etc.) will be happier looking elsewhere. Those who ask "Does he hurt the Republican Party?" and the like, seeking material for future exchanges of invective in partisan mudslinging won't find it here. The author wants to introduce us to an individual who is much broader than such narrow parameters. And he succeeds.
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