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Flying High: Remembering Barry Goldwater

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Overview

In Flying High, William F. Buckley Jr. offers his lyrical remembrance of a singular era in American politics, and a tribute to the modern conservative movement's first presidential standard-bearer, Barry Goldwater. In many ways the perfect candidate, Goldwater was self-reliant, unpretentious, unshakably honest, and dashingly handsome. He possessed deep integrity and a sense of decency that made him a natural spokesman for conservative ideals. But his flaws were a product of his virtues. He wouldn't bend his opinions to make himself more popular, and in the end he electrified millions of voters but lost the great majority, and with it the election. In an era when Republicans are once again looking for a leader, Flying High is a valuable reminder of the fortitude, honor, and vision that Barry Goldwater upheld.

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Editorial Reviews

Lou Cannon
…a slender but elegiac volume in which Buckley's wit and lyricism soar from beyond the grave. Few readers will mind that several of the chapters are devoted less to Goldwater than to the early days of National Review. As always, Buckley writes well about politics, but the singular achievement of this book is its nostalgic remembrance of an enduring friendship between the author and his subject.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

This is the journeyman Bill Buckley. Part memoir, part political history and part reportage, Flying Highsparkles with joie de vivre and syntactical expertise, giving lively accounts of Nikita Khrushchev's historic-and theatrical-visit to the United States, the 1960 Republican convention and fallout, and National Review's heady first years. Readers are made privy to Buckley's behind-closed-doors meetings with other right-wing mavens as they debate the John Birch Society, commission Buckley's brother-in-law, Brent Bozell, to ghostwrite The Conscience of a Conservativeand attempt to propel its putative author Goldwater into political office-only to find themselves dramatically excluded from the 1964 campaign. Although the book's scattered time line is slightly jarring (Buckley jumps between the 1964 campaign and affectionate memories of Goldwater), that does not detract from this book's modest and utterly satisfying pleasures. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

William F. Buckley, who died this February, was one of the most influential political figures of the 20th century. Through his magazine, the National Review, the substantive television talk show he hosted, Firing Line, and his voluminous writings (this is his 51st book), he shaped and nurtured American conservatism. One of the defining moments of the conservative struggle was the 1964 presidential nomination of Arizona senator Barry Goldwater. Goldwater's defeat in the election prepared the way for Ronald Reagan, who had actively campaigned for him. Buckley was there from the beginning, first meeting Goldwater and becoming a friend and adviser. He was eminently qualified to write this book, but his note that his work here "is not strictly factual," that he has reconstructed and invented conversations, some of which he was not a party to, is surely problematic. Such an approach is the province of novels, not history. Thus, as a serious political memoir the book must be accepted with a strong caveat. While fans of Buckley will appreciate the charm of his writing, it lacks the energy of some of his earlier work, such as Overdrive: A Personal Documentary. Rick Perlstein's Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus is a worthier choice. An optional purchase for larger political science collections.
—Michael O. Eshleman

Kirkus Reviews
Two conservative icons meet in a well-considered book, as they often did in life. Buckley (The Rake, 2007, etc.), who recently passed away at the age of 82, opens with a charming anecdote of an adventure he and Barry Goldwater shared in Antarctica, long after the latter's unsuccessful bid for the White House in 1964. Ever the scholar-though that was not part of his public persona-Goldwater took the occasion to discourse on ice and Antarctica's abundance thereof. "There is everything there, potentially: the control of the weather; the answer to the fresh-water problem," Goldwater expounded. "A vat of energy greater than the known supply of the world's oil. If I had been elected president, you'd have seen it all come to life." Buckley knew something of that bid, having engineered the making of Goldwater's soi-disant autobiography The Conscience of a Conservative. One impetus for that book was Richard Nixon, who "had the grit and skill of a seasoned politician" and was the GOP's only real possibility in the 1960 race against John F. Kennedy, but who failed to stir Republicans at the convention, much less the rest of the American people. Goldwater, Buckley and his conservative colleagues at the National Review, had the ability to stir emotions-though in directions they might not have foreseen when they commissioned Brent Bozell to ghost-write Conscience in 1959. That book, Buckley notes, came in short and late, but it was a hit all the same, and it afforded a series of talking points for Republicans for the next four years. This book is as much a history of the rightward drift of the GOP, which allowed the likes of Reagan and Bush II into office, as it is of Goldwater himself. As withanything by Buckley, it is fluent and gossipy (the scene involving Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand is a howler), fun to read and newsworthy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465018055
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 3/9/2010
  • Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author


William F. Buckley Jr. (1925-2008) was one of the intellectual leaders of the right for more than fifty years. The founder and editor-in-chief of the National Review, he was also the author of over fifty works of fiction and nonfiction. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George H.W. Bush in 1991.
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Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Prologue 1

1 Stirrings in Chicago 9

2 Young Americans for Freedom 21

3 Early Days at National Review 27

4 An Unwelcoming Committee for Khrushchev 35

5 Khrushchev Tours America 39

6 Goldwater-Bozell: Seeking Victory over Communism 53

7 Goldwater and the Labor Unions 59

8 Plotting at Palm Beach 65

9 Flying over the Grand Canyon 71

10 Internal Strife: The Baroody Factor 79

11 "Barry's Going to Run" 85

12 The Conscience of a Conservative 89

13 In the Snows of New Hampshire 103

14 Ebullience in California 111

15 Rockefeller Looks Ahead 125

16 Goldwater's Youth Movement 131

17 The Campaign Strategy 139

18 "Extremism in the Defense of Liberty" 143

19 The Ghost of JFK 155

20 Heading Home 159

21 The Eve of Disaster 163

22 Reagan: A Fresh Star 167

23 The Vision of Karl Hess 171

24 Eisenhower's Steely Analysis 177

25 Flying High 183

Coda 189

Acknowledgments 193

Index 197

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