On the Firing Line: The Public Life of Our Public Figures

On the Firing Line: The Public Life of Our Public Figures

by William F. Buckley Jr.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Firing Line , Buckley's TV interview program, has been around since 1966, and his guests, whose feisty talks are included in this scrapbook, have included Henry Kissinger, Michael Harrington, Roy Cohn, Yehudi Menuhin, Alan Paton, Steve Allen, Truman Capote, Jimmy Hoffa, Norman Mailer, Muhammad Ali, Timothy Leary, Al Capp, Jeremy Rifkin and Margaret Thatcher, to list a few. Quoting such folk should make for some intellectual and cultural fireworks, but the main problem with this hefty compendium is Buckley himself. Wrapping the edited snippets of conversations into his running commentary, he retrospectively uses his guests as a sounding-board to present his opinions on politics, the communist threat, capital punishment, crime, the 1960s (``The Kid Years'') and religion. James Baldwin, George McGovern, Jesse Jackson and William Kunstler all get their comeuppance. Readers receptive to Buckley's conservative perspective may glide through his shooting-gallery; others will wish there had been less editorializing and more excerpts from the televised verbal combat. (Apr.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
This book, highlights from the 23-year-old Firing Line TV series, will be a joy for anyone who delights in the raised eyebrows and eruditely crafted salvos at guests who dare to be less doctrinaire conservative than host Buckley. The book's pages read like a Who's Who of luminaries in politics, the arts, and journalism, including George McGovern, Barry Goldwater, presidents from Nixon to Reagan, and a number of heads of states of other nations. Most of the major social and political issues of the decades involved are scrutinized; but the real pleasure of this work is Buckley's artful commentary in which he illustrates ``manifest evasiveness'' in some of his guests and ``fine reasoning'' in others. Delightful and challenging reading. For the liberal journalist's viewpoint, see Bill Moyers's A World of Ideas , reviewed below.-- Frank Kessler, Missouri Western State Coll., St. Joseph

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Random House Publishing Group
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