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Right Time, Right Place: Coming of Age with William F. Buckley Jr. and the Conservative Movement Hardcover – June 9, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“A stirring and enormously readable account that provides a valuable reminder of the ability of a single individual to bend the course of history and alter, forever, a nation’s thinking.”
Rich Lowry, editor of National Review
“Richard Brookhiser has written a wonderful memoir that is a personal history of National Review and of contemporary conservativism—unabashedly honest, deeply wise, and analytically acute. Brookhiser is the prose equivalent of a fine jeweler. With his lapidary style and dazzling metaphors and erudition, he’s always a marvel to read.”
Lou Cannon, co-author of Reagan’s Disciple
“Right Time, Right Place is a galloping good read—an honest, fast-paced, revealing memoir by one of the conservative movement’s best writers. William F. Buckley emerges as a real human being, warts and all, and not just the Conservative Saint. Of course, Buckley is that, too, but he’s more rounded in this book than in any other I have read.”
Terry Teachout, drama critic of The Wall Street Journal
“I thought I knew Bill Buckley. Now I know better—a lot better. But Right Time, Right Place is more than just a poignant, startlingly frank memoir of a remarkable man. It is also a portrait of a pivotal moment in American political and intellectual life, seen through the eyes of a gifted writer who saw it all happen and knew what he was seeing. Anyone who wants to understand how and why the conservative movement changed America will have to reckon with this book.”
Wall Street Journal
“In Right Time, Right Place, Mr. Brookhiser tells the story of his rise and fall in Buckley’s world. It’s an admiring, but not always flattering, portrait of the most prolific public intellectual of his time.”
“[T]his is a beautifully written book, rich in character and anecdote, with good political reporting and a dispassionate account of Mr. Brookhiser’s bout with cancer, which he handled bravely and with grace. Above all, though, it’s about a young man’s education and his teacher.”
“Absorbing reading…. [A] gripping tale…. Brookhiser tells the story of his relationship with WFB…straightforwardly and honestly…. [A] fascinating look back (how does he remember so many details?) at a 30-year friendship and collaboration (part of which I witnessed first hand). Rick’s personal history with WFB parallels the rise of the conservative movement. And it will not surprise fans of Brookhiser’s biographies that this memoir is a brilliant and beautifully written history of the past several decades.”
“[Brookhiser] deftly sets his personal and professional biography in a sharply observed historical and intellectual context, while sharing his deep affection for – and occasional resentment of – Buckley with compelling candor.”
Kirkus Review (starred review)
“[W]onderfully conversational, occasionally confessional, frequently witty…. More than anything, though, Brookhiser reflects on his maturation as a thinker, writer and a man who for too long measured his worth against the glittering Buckley, his spiritual father, inspiration, boss and friend. Old enough now to appreciate the misunderstandings on both sides, chastened by a bout with cancer and distinguished in his own right as a historian, Brookhiser’s eyes-wide-open appraisal of his mentor is deeply affectionate. Right book, right author.”
Christian Science Monitor
“Right Time, Right Place is refreshingly free of spicy score settling and juicy revelations. Instead, readers get tasty morsels of candor caramelized in the searing heat of self-reflection. The result is a psychologically rich personal narrative.”
New York Times Book Review
“Brookhiser is a talented and prolific writer, best known in recent years for a series of books on the founding fathers. But through much of his adult life, the center of his world was National Review. This slight but engaging memoir is the story of a young man drawn early into Buckley’s orbit who struggled over many years to bask in, and at times to escape, the aura of his famous mentor.”
“Balancing hero-worship with a frank assessment of ugly infighting at the Review…Brookhiser pays a fond farewell to the conservative icon whose death last year deprived a generation of right-wingers of its flawed ideological father…. [H]is lyrical meditation on the intersection of his own life and that of his ‘lost leader’ will move the most hardened Nation subscriber.”
Ramesh Ponnuru, First Things
“There is no better book about William F. Buckley or National Review, and it is a good, quick sketch of the conservative movement’s last few decades. The book is also a treat, written with the spare elegance and psychological insight that Rick’s fans have come to expect.”
“Right Time, Right Place compellingly captures the editorial world of Buckley’s National Review. As a book about recent conservative politics and magazine life, it can be fascinating.”
“[A] thoroughly engaging and fair portrayal of Buckley…. [A]s an intellectual coming-of-age memoir coupled with an insider’s view of an important political movement and its leaders, this book can’t be beat.”
Top Customer Reviews
Brookhiser walks a real tightrope here, being unsparringly honest, noting Buckley's flaws and weaknesses while not neglecting so much about the man that made him such a singular figure. The end result is a balanced and therefore very accesible account of a very real man. In telling his story about Buckley as he does Broohiser tells us much about himself as well. Deeply bitter about Buckley's having promised him that he'd be Buckley's successor, then reneging on that promise without warning, Brookhiser continued to work for NR (as he does to this day), in a diminished capacity with his approach to Buckley considerably more cautious. But Brookhiser doesn't let his bitterness consume him or let Buckley's crude handling of the matter poison their relationship in perpetuity. Buckley possessed so many admirable qualities - energy, intelligence, an astonishing generosity - and Broohiser doesn't let his lesser qualities overwhelm them. Forgiveness really is an act of grace.
What strikes you about Right Time, Right Place is the degree to which it is permeated with love, an adult and therefore meaningful love that admits that people are flawed but doesn't get devoured by that fact. It is easy to love a perfect person, much less so one whose flaws can bring pain.Read more ›
I got the book to read about William Buckley, "National Review," and the influence of both Buckley and the magazine on American politics.
What I got was much better than that. I did learn about Buckley, and I did learn about his magazine. But I also got a pretty darned good intellectual history of the political battles fought in America over a period of several years.
I learned many things I did not know. I learned William Buckley was human, quirky, and not above making some big mistakes. He did not really know how to communicate with people, and had to resort to leaving notes. But he was also very generous, and capable of great kindness. I came away liking the man, despite his quirks and faults. He made the world a better place by being in it.
I learned that the battles fought on the right did not go the way one thinks they did. There were divisions, fights over turf, great differences in the preference of candidates, and shifts in ideas and ideals.
The author was there to see many of them, and he writes about them very well. The book is remarkable engaging.
Many of the person to person encounters in this book are funny, or painful, or surprising. The book never ceases to surprise.
The author deserves considerable praise for this book. He wrote a little gem . I hope it will get the sales and attention it deserves.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
At times in the past I have found Richard Brookhiser a bit dry. I have come to realize that I simply needed to improve my vocabulary and knowledge of history and the world: this... Read morePublished on July 24, 2014 by B. T. Davis
Well worth reading for Buckley fans. Tells the behind the scenes story of Buckley, National Review and Brookhiser's relation to both. Read morePublished on February 9, 2014 by Dr. R.P. Forsberg
Brookhiser has penned an interesting account of his relationship with the late Wm. F. Buckley, Jr. and his up and down association with National Review. Read morePublished on August 10, 2013 by Joylaw
Brookhiser drops the names of every political and literary conservative he met or worked from 1975 to the mid 90's, first as a writer and managing editor of the National Review,... Read morePublished on May 3, 2012 by Gdalan
I was a fan of William F. Buckley, Jr. This book tells Brookhiser's version of a purported secret succession plan at Bill Buckley's magazine National Review. Read morePublished on September 12, 2011 by Ronald E. Robinson
Brookhiser is an amazing writer. He writes his memoir introspectively without self-absorbtion and profoundly without pompousness. Read morePublished on February 22, 2011 by Matt Metevelis
Excellent biography of an ingenious gentleman, who also loved peanut butter.
I share this liking for PB, as well as for Buckley's vocabulary and wit. Read more
This was well worth the $1.24 it's selling for now, due to some local 60s color in the beginning, but it quickly becomes unreadable except as an unconscious account of what's wrong... Read morePublished on March 6, 2010 by James J. Omeara
The relationship between mentor and apprentice is a fascinating one, and Mr. Brookhiser's compulsively readable memoir captures the nuances of this dynamic better than just about... Read morePublished on January 1, 2010 by Robert Dean Lurie