- Hardcover: 262 pages
- Publisher: Doubleday; 1st edition (August 1983)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385182694
- ISBN-13: 978-0385182690
- Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #812,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Overdrive: A Personal Documentary Hardcover – August, 1983
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Top Customer Reviews
Perhaps most importantly, Buckley, far from being aloof, comes across in these books as a man with a seemingly inexhaustible capacity for friendship and personal interactions. The volume of his correspondence is staggering, and he insisted, until very late in life, on responding with at least a few words to each piece of mail he received -- an Old World sort of etiquette that is largely dead today, where people can't be bothered to respond a few words even to a personal or business email, it seems.
But do read Cruising Speed first, and perhaps also the sailing books that precede it in publication date, to get the full flavor of Buckley's life. In Overdrive, President Reagan is in office -- the culmination of Buckley's decades in the wilderness as leader of the conservative movement. In Cruising Speed, he is still a "happy warrior" in that wilderness. The sweetness of the victory cannot be fully appreciated without seeing the labors and uncertainty that preceded it.
But do read Overdrive.
It's not a great book, given the subject is a rather self-involved man nattering on about himself without much self-editing. If you are a Buckley fan, "Overdrive" is still worthy reading, Buckley sharing eight days of his life in a spirit of candor, vigor, and good humor. If you are a Buckley detractor, "Overdrive" is also worthy reading, because the man provides plenty of ammunition to feed the negative image of him as a Latin-spouting Thurston Howell type.
So clamorous were the reviews he felt a need to respond to his critics in an "Introductory Epilogue" that ran with the paperback edition of this book in 1984. "My limousine has miles to go before I sleep," he writes.
The epilogue is probably the weakest part of the book, given that Buckley is on the defensive and allowing himself to be defined by folks like Nora Ephron, who wrote of him: "Give an Irishman a horse, and he'll vote Tory." (Ouch!) The rest of the book chronicles Buckley's life from November 16-23, 1981, not because anything particularly special happened then but because Buckley felt it would make a worthy experiment, "a book-length work about the events of a single week as it unfolded". He did this once before, in 1970 with "Cruising Speed", but of course he was enjoying better weeks in 1981 with his guy Reagan in the Oval Office.
"Overdrive" captures one phone conversation between Buckley and Reagan ("a social call") as well as another where Vice President George H. W.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this book more rereading it 30 years later than when I first perused the pages as a new work.Published on March 9, 2013 by Lois
Whew! What a race. Compared to "Miles Gone By" this one is busy. Twenty years sure makes a difference.Published on October 20, 2005 by William S Jamison