HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Buckley: William F. Buckley Jr. and the Rise…
Loading...

Buckley: William F. Buckley Jr. and the Rise of American Conservatism

by Carl T. Bogus

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
161615,960 (4)None

None.

None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

As Carl T. Bogus observes, when William F. Buckley Jr. brought out the first issue of a new conservative weekly, National Review, in 1955, he virtually had the field to himself. Cultural critic Lionel Trilling had declared in "The Liberal Imagination" in 1950 that conservatism as an intellectual and political force was moribund in this country. In politics, Sen. Robert A. Taft, known as Mr. Conservative, and in political philosophy, Russell Kirk, a disciple of Edmund Burke, were among the few conservative voices heeded by their peers and by the public.

Schooled at home amid a large, wealthy Connecticut family, Buckley seemed to imbibe his conservatism at the dinner table, even when the conversation was not specifically about politics. At Yale University, he created a sensation by attacking the liberal faculty in a best-selling book, "God and Man at Yale" (1951), brashly contending that education was all about indoctrination, and that the Yale faculty was promulgating a godless secularism that should not merely be attacked but expunged from the college curriculum.

Raising money from his father and other donors, Buckley at 30 began promoting the conservative point of view in a magazine that sought to enlist the services of prominent conservatives, including Kirk and Whittaker Chambers -- the latter pilloried in the liberal press for accusing Alger Hiss, a State Department official, of espionage.

How did Buckley not only make a success of his magazine, but also enlist as his first subscribers Ronald Reagan and others who would take conservatism from the extreme edges of electoral politics to the mainstream? Bogus provides the customary tributes to Buckley's wit and commanding rhetoric, but, more important, he points to Buckley's organizing skills and the way he co-opted even those conservatives who opposed certain of his positions. In other words, Buckley used his magazine to drive a wedge into the heart of American liberalism, making National Review a force conservatives dare not oppose.

Perhaps the biographer's greatest accomplishment is exposing the shameful aspect of Buckley's legacy: a racism that his conservative contemporaries have tried to obscure. Bogus never calls Buckley an out-and-out racist, but this conclusion is inescapable, given the evidence the biographer supplies. Buckley thought African Americans were inferior, and he used the National Review as an apologist organ for Southern segregationists.

This sorry chapter in Buckley's biography and in the history of the National Review is, however, put in perspective, one that gives Buckley due credit for, in the main, making a powerful contribution to American political thought and to the culture of politics that would have been considerably diminished without his sparkling contributions. ( )
1 vote carl.rollyson | Oct 10, 2012 |
Bogus is particularly good at using Burke, Kirk and Taft as Cassandra figures to bewail the wrong turnings of the right. His discussion of the various intellectual players is well informed, and he makes a useful contribution to understanding the contending variations of modern American conservatism. But his argument gets lost in a thicket of irrelevant digressions, from a recapitulation of “Atlas Shrugged” to a potted history of Vietnam, and loses sight of Buckley himself.
 
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

Documents the legacy of a leading architect of the American conservative movement, tracing his 1955 launch of the influential "National Review" and his television show "Firing Line," as well as his role in promoting modern values about the free market, religion, and an aggressive foreign policy.… (more)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
3 wanted

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4)
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3 1
3.5
4
4.5
5 1

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 119,643,089 books! | Top bar: Always visible