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God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of 'Academic Freedom' Paperback – January 1, 1986

4.5 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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''Without God and Man at Yale, one could fairly say, the conservative movement would not exist today. Soon after winning national attention with this controversial polemic, William F. Buckley Jr. deployed his youth, charm, and intellect to unite a motley crew of cantankerous intellectuals into a viable conservative movement. Less than a generation after Lionel Trilling famously opined that 'in the United States at this time liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition,' Buckley had in large part caused the liberal consensus to unravel.'' --From the new foreword to the 50th Anniversary Edition

''Still correct and prophetic. It defines the conservative revolt against socialism and atheism on campus and in the culture and reconciles the alleged conflict between capitalist and religious conservatives.'' --George Gilder, National Review, ''100 Best Nonfiction Books of the Century''

''William F. Buckley's book with the brilliant title, God and Man at Yale, will kick up a glorious controversy . . . Brilliant, sincere, well-informed, keenly reasoned, and exciting to read.'' --American Mercury --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

The legendary founder of the modern conservative movement, William F. Buckley Jr. was the author of many celebrated nonfiction books, including God and Man at Yale, as well as the bestselling Blackford Oakes spy novels and Elvis in the Morning.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Gateway Editions; 50th Anniversary ed. edition (January 1, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 089526692X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0895266927
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #191,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr. W. G. Covington, Jr. on June 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
This seminal work of one of the most courageous conservative thinkers of the 20th and 21st centuries laid the groundwork on which numerous other media voices built. He descrbes how it all started when he was an undergraduate at Yale University from 1946-1950. He writes from his conscious. Buckley is precise in describing how he felt traditional American values were being ignored, undermined, and distorted by academics. He makes his case by citing specific classes, instructors, and textbooks. In the revised edition he brings readers up to date on how critics and the public responded when the book originally came out. Buckley earned the right to be the quintessential role model for conservatives because of his courage and gift of clearly communicating his argument in a logical manner. There are no ad hominem fallacies here or in any of his writings. He confronts isses head on. He even discusses his motive for writing the book by saying it is tied to his love for his alma mater and the country in general. By that he means his desire is for constructive change. It is in pointing out the errors that he hopes to achieve the positive resolutions he seeks. Buckley has remained a voice worthy of an audience in the marketplace of ideas for decades. This is the book that launched him and it is worth reading at any point in time.
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Obviously a book about the state of college life and of Yale in particular which was written in the early fifties will take some lumps for its dated references to the specific personalities and issues of Yale life in 1950. His main theses are that collectivism, an older term which, as the author points out in an updated prologue, has morphed in "liberalism", is the dominant principle which guides the teaching of Economics, Philosophy and the social sciences, and secondly that, by any reasonable measure, agnosticism and atheisism are the prominent world views held by the majority of faculty and are in full evidence even in the Department of Religion. Not only do you sense his personal frustrations (being a Catholic and an advocate of small government), but there is a note of dismay at the apparent hypocrisy of Yale with respect to its alumni. The latter were encourage to shore up the finances of the college with their generous giving but were not to be given much say in the philosophical direction of the school, even though Yale paid lip service to the importance of the alumni in preserving its integrity and traditions. In fact, as Buckley points out, if the largely Christian and Jewish business men who made up the alumni knew that the Yale faculty was in large part atheistic (and sometimes highly scornful of Christianity)and believed that big government (specifically Keynseyism) was the answer to society's ills, there would have been far more calls for accountability. But sadly, the alumni were discouraged from questioning the philosophical direction of the college for fear of breaching the sacred veil of 'academic freedom' and from general apathy and lack of reasonable information. Buckley's book began an important intellectual discourse in the US about the direction of our culture. His wit and mastery of the written word is still fresh and entertaining.
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How could a book by a very young man who had just graduated from college that contains detailed criticisms of the philosophy, attitude and method of individual professors under whom he studied change the entire course of American politics? How could a book about policies and personalities in one Ivy League school gain almost instant national recognition and cause intense reactions of either joy or rancor throughout the American intellectual community? More than fifty years after its initial publication in 1951 and after the death of its author, why would you want to read such a book? The answer to these questions is simply that this book is Mr. Buckley's first step down the road toward a conservative revolution against an advancing socialist hegemony and as it was Mr. Buckley's first step it was the nation's first step.

Mr. Buckley was a devout Catholic and committed individualist (I will use this word as he uses it and hope you gain full appreciation for it after reading the forward of the book). He saw that during his education, Yale promoted neither religion nor the ideas of free market economy and personal responsibility in contravention of its own charter. Indeed, most of the professors openly scoffed at both and forcefully propounded the ideas of liberalism that had developed during Wilson's presidency and flourished under FDR. So he wrote this book to admonish the faculty for its bias and imbalance, illuminate the hypocrisy of the college administration and to suggest that the alumni take responsibility for guiding the direction of the curriculum. Along the way he demolishes the myth of "academic freedom." The book failed to change now yet more liberal Yale because the naive Mr.
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Some might find it hard to imagine a time when it was shocking to find that students in an Ivy League university were being taught, even sometimes indoctrinated, by socialists and atheists. Today that's about as amazing as the news that water flows downhill.
Mr. Buckley has been right about most things for the last half century. He was very young when he wrote this book, and it was a sign of even better things to come.
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