Let Us Talk of Many Things: The Collected Speeches

Let Us Talk of Many Things: The Collected Speeches

by William F. Buckley Jr.

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William F. Buckley Jr. has long been admired for his remarkable gifts as a writer, debater, and orator. The man who helped ignite the modern conservative movement has for the past fifty years played a significant role in the great social debates that have shaped our country and indeed the world. In the course of his long career, he has given hundreds of speeches to


William F. Buckley Jr. has long been admired for his remarkable gifts as a writer, debater, and orator. The man who helped ignite the modern conservative movement has for the past fifty years played a significant role in the great social debates that have shaped our country and indeed the world. In the course of his long career, he has given hundreds of speeches to generations of listeners. He has talked of many things -- from the Cold War to the passing of dear friends, from moral decay to the joys of sailing the open seas, from the defense of liberty to the comfort of faith. Here, collected for the first time, are Buckley's most memorable speeches, spanning five decades -- from the precocious Yale student's Class Day address in 1950 to the elder commentator's accumulated wisdom at century's end. The speeches are one-of-a-kind snapshots that capture the breadth and depth of the ideological wars fought during our country's most turbulent days. They are also richly worded masterpieces of wit, eloquence, and persuasion. Including new commentary from the author that provides historical context for his speeches, this book is a celebration of an extraordinary public life.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In his 74 years, Buckley has racked up a dazzling list of achievements: author of more than 30 novels and nonfiction works, founder of the National Review, host of the PBS series Firing Line, and syndicated columnist appearing in more than 300 newspapers. Add to that list well-paid public speaker for half a century. At his peak, Buckley delivered more than 70 lectures annually, and today he still gives about 20 lectures a year. Ninety-five speeches from his repertoire of 184 delivered between the 1950s and 1990s are reprised in this volume. For those well acquainted with Buckley's conservative views, there is little new to recommend this volume, except perhaps the brief introductory remarks that he has added before each speech. For true Buckley believers, however, any volume that bears his name is incentive enough. An optional purchase except for specialized collections in modern U.S. conservative thought and for libraries serving patrons hungry for more Buckley.--William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Charles R. Kesler
Buckley's speeches are superbly readable. Full of argument, wit, and occasionally drama, they provide lessons for aspiring orators and speechwriters.
The Weekly Standard

Product Details

Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.04(w) x 8.98(h) x 1.26(d)

What People are saying about this

Elliot Abrams
This is Buckley at his eloquent best-his patented combination of icy wit with a deeply serious intellectual analysis. In these speeches-which include everything from Buckley's Class Day Remarks at Yale in 1950, to eulogies, debates and commencement addresses-there emerges the history of social change and political upheaval in this half century. But this is no languorous look back, no mellow memoir: These entries were written and spoken in the heat of battle, and they show it. Ignoring the maxim de mortuis nihil nisi bonum, Buckley skewers two generations of frauds, mountebanks, fellow travelers, and just plain liberals. But you can't read just one. In fact, I bet you can't resist reading entry after entry aloud just for the sheer fun of it.
Milton Friedman
A remarkable and moving record of a passionate life devoted to the cause of freedom-a record not by a third party or based on recollection, but embedded in a cornucopia of eloquent, speeches capturing the spirit of the time.
Peter Robinson
Peter Robinson, Hoover Institution

Let Us Talk of Many Things is an astonishing book. Each speech is completely, compellingly, wonderfully readable--every single one of them.

Ed Koch
Ed Koch

Reading Bill Buckley's collected speeches, which cover the last half of the 20th century, is an exhilarating experience. The cogency of his arguments and his delivery are so extraordinarily persuasive that if this collection is as widely read as it should be, it will cause havoc in liberal salons. This is one of the few books devoted to the thoughts of one person that will be read from cover to cover.

Andrew Ferguson
Andrew Ferguson, The Weekly Standard

In one of the speeches collected here, Bill Buckley instructs a class of eighteen-year-olds on their paramount responsibility-to enjoy yourself as you go. There lies the key to Buckley's extraordinary career, which like this book spans a half century (and counting), from pre-Korea to post-Lewinsky. Whether as novelist, editor, prose stylist, or public speaker, he always makes clear the pleasure he derives from intellectual engagement. The pleasure is infectious, and anyone who reads this exhilarating book will catch it too.

Walter Cronkite
Walter Cronkite

The book is perfect for either the bathroom or a desert island-either for a quick fix or the one book for a lifetime of isolation.

Charles Colson
Bill Buckley, master wordsmith, takes us on an enchanting journey through the years. Wonderful wit and wisdom, given in eloquent prose.
John Kenneth Galbraith
William Buckley does indeed talk here of many things, with deft mention of the many cabbages and kings that he has addressed politically over these years. As ever, sheer delight from humor and prose, whatever the political faith.
George Nash
Readers of all persuasions will read this splendid anthology for sheer pleasure. Wise historians will study it as an invaluable guide to the intellectual life of our times.
George Will
George Will

Since young Buckley took Yale to task almost 50 years ago, he has been taking the English language out for invigorating romps. As a result, his collected speeches are a high-spirited tour through the great controversies that have shaped both politics and culture. If you doubt that, or wonder why it is that Bill Buckley is the most consequential journalist and most skillful controversialist of our time, this delightful volume is for you. It is also for any reader who relishes wit in the service of moral convictions.

Meet the Author

William F. Buckley Jr. (1925—2008) was the author and editor of over fifty works of fiction and nonfiction. The founder and former editor-in-chief of National Review and former host of “Firing Line,” he was one of the intellectual leaders of the right from the 1950s until his death in 2008. His syndicated column, “On the Right,” was begun in 1962. He served as a CIA agent in the early 1950s, helped found the Young Americans for Freedom in 1960, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George H.W. Bush in 1991. His most recent work of nonfiction, FlyingHigh, an appreciation of Barry Goldwater, was published by Basic Books in 2007.

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