Strictly Right: William F. Buckley Jr. and the American Conservative Movementby Linda Bridges, John R. Coyne Jr.
Would there be an American conservative movement without William F. Buckley Jr.? Perhaps. Would it be the robust, broad-based, politically dominant force that it is today? Almost certainly not. When he launched National Review in 1955, Buckley forged a powerful alliance among libertarians, traditionalists, anti-Communists, and other fractious factions of the right,
Would there be an American conservative movement without William F. Buckley Jr.? Perhaps. Would it be the robust, broad-based, politically dominant force that it is today? Almost certainly not. When he launched National Review in 1955, Buckley forged a powerful alliance among libertarians, traditionalists, anti-Communists, and other fractious factions of the right, focusing their attention on a single objective—to break the liberal stranglehold on America.
In Strictly Right, two longtime Buckley colleagues place his many accomplishments in their original contexts, both political and personal. Through colorful and revealing anecdotes from his many siblings, even more friends and allies, and, of course WFB himself, they take you behind the scenes for a unique view of the man, the journal, and how they shaped the most important political and social movement of the last half century.
This insightful profile reveals how, starting in the days before anyone was sure what the term "conservative" meant, Buckley displayed a singular ability to seize the initiative on issues that resonated with a broad spectrum of right-wing groups. His indictment of the liberal educational establishment in his first book, God and Man at Yale, gained him national attention and provided a solid platform when, four years later, he struggled to find the money and the right people to build, not just a widely respected magazine, but a movement.
Though financing would continue to be a problem for National Review for years to come, staffing would not. The journal became a mecca for bright young conservatives of every stripe. Almost overnight, the political complexion of America changed.
Buckley soon became the nation's most visible conservative. The authors describe his role in Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign and reveal how WFB's own failed run for mayor of New York City led to the creation of Firing Line, which allowed millions of television viewers to watch this witty, highly educated conservative calmly debate an endless stream of America's leading liberals. What National Review did for the conservative intelligentsia, Firing Line did for the silent majority.
Complete with telling personal stories, such as why WFB postponed the launch of National Review, how his sister's choice of colleges changed his future, and why he stopped riding his motor scooter to work, Strictly Right is an affectionate and well-earned tribute to the founding father of the conservative movement. It is must reading for anyone who enjoys lively political biography.
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What People are saying about this
—Richard Brookhiser, author of What Would the Founders Do? Our Questions, Their Answers
"With this graceful homage to Bill Buckley, two people who have known the pleasure of his company, as friends and colleagues, place him where he incontestably belongs, at the center of the conservative political movement that moved the center of American politics to the right."
—George F. Will, Newsweek
"Bill and I and others have been good friends for almost 60 years and I thought I knew of his life as well as anyone, but Linda and John have brought the events together in a magnificent story that surpasses all that we have absorbed. If you like and admire Bill you must read this. If you don’t, read it anyway – it will be good for you."
—Evan G. Galbraith, Former Ambassador to France and Chairman of National Review
"Strictly Right paints an intimate and penetrating portrait of the elegant and multi-faceted figure who has helped to add a new dimension to the American political canvas."
—Henry A. Kissinger
Can any other magazine of ideas match the impact of National Review? Almost alone, it articulated and launched the modern conservative movement, helping change the face of American politics and win the Cold War in the process. A remarkable magazine, but no more so than its creator, Bill Buckley, whose brilliance as a writer, editor, speaker, and mentor shaped many of today's cultural and political superstars. Strictly Right is fascinating, entertaining, and ultimately inspiring - the story of how one man and the magazine he created helped to transform American and - ultimately - the world."—Aram Backshian, Jr. Editor-in-Chief, American Speaker
Meet the Author
Linda Bridges has worked for National Review all her adult life. She was managing editor for ten years and is currently an editor at large. She coauthored (with William F. Rickenbacker) The Art of Persuasion: A National Review Rhetoric for Writers.
John R. Coyne Jr. is a former associate editor, staff feature writer, and Washington correspondent for National Review. He is also a former White House speechwriter, chief speechwriter for Amoco Corp., and the author of four books.
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