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Flying High: Remembering Barry Goldwater Hardcover – April 8, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This is the journeyman Bill Buckley. Part memoir, part political history and part reportage, Flying High sparkles with joie de vivre and syntactical expertise, giving lively accounts of Nikita Khrushchev's historic—and theatrical—visit to the United States, the 1960 Republican convention and fallout, and National Review's heady first years. Readers are made privy to Buckley's behind-closed-doors meetings with other right-wing mavens as they debate the John Birch Society, commission Buckley's brother-in-law, Brent Bozell, to ghostwrite The Conscience of a Conservative and attempt to propel its putative author Goldwater into political office—only to find themselves dramatically excluded from the 1964 campaign. Although the book's scattered time line is slightly jarring (Buckley jumps between the 1964 campaign and affectionate memories of Goldwater), that does not detract from this book's modest and utterly satisfying pleasures. (May)
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From Booklist

Buckley’s recent death casts a valedictory shadow over his posthumously published tribute to the man who, for an entire generation, gave American conservatism its most recognizable public face. In his own inimitable style—elegant yet edgy—the crown prince of conservative intellectuals recounts the decisive events that forged the paradoxical Barry Goldwater presidential campaign of 1964. Though doomed to an abysmal electoral defeat, that campaign galvanized the conservative cadres who would go on to decades of political triumph. Predictably, Buckley highlights his own role in formulating Goldwater’s right-wing agenda and in promulgating that agenda through the magazine (National Review) he founded. More surprising for many readers will be the story of how Goldwater’s landmark political credo Conscience of a Conservative took shape through one of National Review’s carefully groomed correspondents acting as the author’s ghostwriter. Yet it was Goldwater’s own indomitable personal courage that converted a paper-and-ink philosophy into an unforgettable public presence, inspiring bold new hopes among the conservative Republicans who rallied to his banner. Buckley particularly highlights the unlikely circumstances that allowed a relatively new Republican convert—a B-movie actor named Ronald Reagan—to deliver a riveting speech in the waning hours of Goldwater’s ill-fated presidential run. A compelling reminder that individual personality still matters in the modern world of mass politics. --Bryce Christensen
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 1st edition (April 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465008364
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465008360
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #928,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have enjoyed reading William Buckley through the years, whether it was his fiction with Blackford Oakes as the protagonist or his somewhat self-indulgent mini-autobiographies. His writing style is absolutely captivating.

Flying High is a great read if you have any interest at all in the emergence of the modern day conservative movement. In light of the current political season and two candidates that are essentially trying to claim that they are moderate, or at the very least not on the extreme ends of the continuum as a liberal or a conservative, the story of conservatives not ashamed to identify themselves as such is somewhat refreshing.

I am struck by the sheer force of character and the price that is paid to be a person of character, particularly in the world of rough and tumble politics. If you have never read anything about Goldwater, this would be a good start and you will no doubt want to read The Conscience of a Conservative, actually ghost written by Brent Bozell, though released under Goldwater's name.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this entire book within 12 hours, and I am no speed reader. There were times I could not put the book down. Buckley, as usual, had me scrambling for a dictionary a few times, but these stories he puts together are unforgettable.

There was so much here I had never known, for instance the fact that Buckley played no role at all in the 1964 campaign (well, officially anyway). While I had heard the stories about Bozell writing Conscience of a Conservative, the way that book was revered in this book is also fascinating. The story about the 1964 Reagan speech on Goldwater's behalf was interesting, all the way from how it was funded to Goldwater's reaction to it to Reagan's reaction when Goldwater called him about it.

My only complaint about the book; It wasn't longer. It would have liked to have known a little more about what appeared to be the final meeting between Buckley and Goldwater. If you've read Buckley's The Reagan I Knew, you know he talks in more details of their final meeting. If you're a fan of the '64 campaign, a fan of the movement, or a fan of either Buckley or Goldwater, you've got to give this book a try. If you give it 30 minutes, you can get a decent way into it and judge the rest.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Taking small snapshots, William F. Buckley, Jr., delivers a wonderful portrait of a pivotal time in American politics and journalism.

From the 100 student activists who were part of the foundation to the modern conservative movement, to the oftentimes hilarious controversies caused by (wannabe) political insiders and adding new twists to key moments which may have faded from the pages of history, the 208 pages prove that richness is not only found in thick volumes.

The friendship of Senator Barry Goldwater and Buckley, Jr., are found on each page, but this is a story of two extraordinary personalities who pushed away the clouds and reached to the blue sky, due to the realization that a revolution in political culture could be had over time by flying high.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful last book completed by William F. Buckley. (Remembering Reagan was largely completed and finished and published by his friends and family after his death.). It recounts those early youthful energetic and politically inexperienced days from the late 1950s through the Goldwater - LBJ contest in 1964. Of course, LBJ won. The country was not going to turn away from the martyred JFK's 2nd Term and install its third president in a single year.

Here we get a lively sense of what went on in the campaign. Why Goldwater was running, why he defeated Rockefeller for the nomination, the role "Conscience of a Conservative" played in making Goldwater attractive to Conservatives (even though it was written by L. Brent Bozell) and the strange way Goldwater and his team avoided it during the campaign.

Goldwater in many ways listened to the wrong people and while he ran a moral campaign according to his personal lights, he did not run an effective and Conservative campaign.

But Buckley's movement learned from this and it led to a political maturing that eventually put Reagan not only in the Governorship of California for two terms, but won him the Presidency in 1980.

I love the book and recommend it to you, not only because Buckley wrote it so compellingly, but because it will set history straight for you and remove the unthinking smear Leftist History has successfully laid over Goldwater. He was a fine man and deserves better.
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Format: Hardcover
The year was 1964 – President Kennedy had been martyred, and now-President Johnson looked unassailable. However, there was one man on the Conservative side who seemed willing to carry the flag, and seek to turn back the tide of Liberalism that was flowing out of Washington DC – Barry Goldwater, Au H2O. And there was one man who was always there, even if he wasn’t the man the cameras were pointed at, Conservative author and thinker, William F. Buckley, Jr.

This is a “what I saw at the revolution” type book. In a short, but informative narrative, Mr. Buckley takes us behind the scenes, showing who did what, and when, and why. I must admit to being largely ignorant of Barry Goldwater, but I found this book to be intriguing and informative, keeping me turning the pages and watching those heady days unfold.

Overall, I found this to be a very interesting book. It is short and easy to read, and yet packs quite a wallop – there is no unnecessary detail or wasted verbiage here! If you are interested in Barry Goldwater and/or where the modern Conservative movement came from, then you should get this book. I think that it is probably the perfect Goldwater Revolution book, and I give it my highest recommendations.
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