Atlantic High: A Celebrationby William F. Buckley Jr.
Ostensibly the tale of his 1980 voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic High is William F. Buckley's extended meditation on the pleasures of sailing and good company. Not surprisingly, as much thought seems to have gone into stocking the wine cellar as to charting out the route. Kon-Tiki, this is not, but nor is it meant to be. Instead, it is an essay on appreciation, and a chance for Buckley to share his spirited point of view and exercise his unique sense of humor. After a leisurely, aside-filled discussion of other trips, Buckley sets out with several close friends and a photographer to make his second trans-Atlantic crossing. The first provided the basis for his popular book, Airborne. When asked by People magazine why he chose to make the journey again, Buckley replies with characteristic drollness, "the wedding night is never enough." It is a passion for sailing that motivates Buckley and enlivens his pages. The book ranges fluidly from observation to speculation, from humorous character sketch to wry editorial commentary. It is peppered with anecdotes, including one in which Buckley, armed with a hacksaw, breaks into a boatyard to steal his own boat back from an unscrupulous repairman. In another, an aide to president Reagan calls to discuss a conflict brewing in Africa, and all Buckley can think about is the weather ahead of him and his crew. The real focus of Atlantic High, however, is the voyage and the crewmembers who share it. From the Mujeres Islands to Fiji to Bermuda, to Sao Miguel and Gibraltar and beyond, the reader is treated to Buckley's observations of the places he visits and the people he encounters. A work as hard to categorize as Buckley himself, Atlantic High offers a glimpse into the good life on the high seas.
- Little, Brown and Company
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