“Absorbing reading.... [A] gripping tale.... Brookhiser tells the story of his relationship with WFB...straightforwardly and honestly.... [A] fascinating look back (how does he remember so many details?) at a 30-year friendship and collaboration (part of which I witnessed first hand). Rick's personal history with WFB parallels the rise of the conservative movement. And it will not surprise fans of Brookhiser's biographies that this memoir is a brilliant and beautifully written history of the past several decades.”
“[Brookhiser] deftly sets his personal and professional biography in a sharply observed historical and intellectual context, while sharing his deep affection for and occasional resentment of Buckley with compelling candor.”
Kirkus Review (starred review)
“[W]onderfully conversational, occasionally confessional, frequently witty.... More than anything, though, Brookhiser reflects on his maturation as a thinker, writer and a man who for too long measured his worth against the glittering Buckley, his spiritual father, inspiration, boss and friend. Old enough now to appreciate the misunderstandings on both sides, chastened by a bout with cancer and distinguished in his own right as a historian, Brookhiser's eyes-wide-open appraisal of his mentor is deeply affectionate. Right book, right author.”
Michael Medved, talk radio host and author of The 10 Big Lies About America
“A stirring and enormously readable account that provides a valuable reminder of the ability of a single individual to bend the course of history and alter, forever, a nation's thinking.”
Rich Lowry, editor of National Review
“Richard Brookhiser has written a wonderful memoir that is a personal history of National Review and of contemporary conservativismunabashedly honest, deeply wise, and analytically acute. Brookhiser is the prose equivalent of a fine jeweler. With his lapidary style and dazzling metaphors and erudition, he's always a marvel to read.”
Lou Cannon, co-author of Reagan's Disciple
“Right Time, Right Place is a galloping good readan honest, fast-paced, revealing memoir by one of the conservative movement's best writers. William F. Buckley emerges as a real human being, warts and all, and not just the Conservative Saint. Of course, Buckley is that, too, but he's more rounded in this book than in any other I have read.”
Terry Teachout, drama critic of The Wall Street Journal
“I thought I knew Bill Buckley. Now I know bettera lot better. But Right Time, Right Place is more than just a poignant, startlingly frank memoir of a remarkable man. It is also a portrait of a pivotal moment in American political and intellectual life, seen through the eyes of a gifted writer who saw it all happen and knew what he was seeing. Anyone who wants to understand how and why the conservative movement changed America will have to reckon with this book.”
Wall Street Journal
“In Right Time, Right Place, Mr. Brookhiser tells the story of his rise and fall in Buckley's world. It's an admiring, but not always flattering, portrait of the most prolific public intellectual of his time.”
“[T]his is a beautifully written book, rich in character and anecdote, with good political reporting and a dispassionate account of Mr. Brookhiser's bout with cancer, which he handled bravely and with grace. Above all, though, it's about a young man's education and his teacher.
Just as Buckley flitted in and out of Brookhiser’s life, he flits in and out of this book. The result is that Brookhiser adds only a little more to an understanding of Buckley than he does to the history of conservatism. … Instead, Right Time, Right Place is mostly a profile of the author himself - a talented man whose genial memoir is likely to leave readers asking for more.
The New York Times
Brookhiser pays a fond farewell to the conservative icon…his lyrical meditation on the intersection of his own life and that of his "lost leader" will move the most hardened Nation subscriber.
The Washington Post
In 1969, the precocious 14-year-old Brookhiser wrote a cover story for National Review and began to correspond with founding editor William F. Buckley Jr., who serves as both hero and, sometimes, villain of this wistful memoir. After graduating from Yale, the author became Buckley's designated successor, his rapid ascendancy mirroring the prodigious gains of the conservative movement as championed by the magazine and led by Ronald Reagan. The book, like the author's life, takes an abrupt turn when the mercurial Buckley writes him a letter to say that he no longer considers Brookhiser an appropriate candidate to succeed him. Brookhiser offers accounts of writing his book on Washington, Founding Father, and his struggle with testicular cancer, but the book becomes less focused as the relationship between the author and his mentor becomes strained. Nevertheless, the author deftly sets his personal and professional biography in a sharply observed historical and intellectual context, while sharing his deep affection for-and occasional resentment of-Buckley with compelling candor. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
William F. Buckley's 2008 death will surely lead to an extension of the already considerable Buckley bookshelf, which he himself populated during a career spanning six decades, years when he began the National Review, produced television's Firing Line, and godfathered the conservative movement that came to dominate American politics. These two books are among the first to join Buckley's own on that shelf. Buckley bibliographer Meehan has gathered 15 interviews from 1970 to 2005 for Mississippi's long-running "Literary Conversations" series. Readers who agreed with Buckley's politics and enjoyed his wit will savor the collection of conversations. Those who disagreed, and dismissed Buckley, may be surprised at how well they like him here and surprised again at some of his opinions, which address topics ranging widely from politics to writing to sailing to music to any number of other areas. Among his opinions, stated in a 1970 interview: "It is still hard as hell to find a young conservative with writing talent." The prior year he'd found Brookhiser, who had submitted an article to National Review, which Buckley published as a cover story in 1970 when Brookhiser had just turned 15 years old. Brookhiser, known for a series of popular biographies that began with Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington, joined the National Review staff in 1977 and at one point was Buckley's heir apparent; he is still a senior editor at the magazine. His is an engaging memoir of the conservative movement, of one of its engines (the National Review), and of Brookhiser's somewhat oedipal relationship with Buckley. VERDICT Meehan's book is a highlyrecommended introduction to a wide-ranging man, while Brookhiser's work is recommended for any reader trying to get a better understanding of the conservative movement in late 20th-century America. Recommended for all interested readers.—Bob Nardini, Nashville, TN
National Review senior editor Brookhiser (George Washington on Leadership, 2008, etc.) recalls his writing life. No history of the modern conservative movement would be complete without a healthy chapter on William F. Buckley's opinion magazine, National Review, founded in 1955. Brookhiser's adolescence coincided perfectly with that of the magazine-in 1970, at the remarkable age of 14, he published his first article there. The author arrived early enough on the NR scene to absorb the in-house lore surrounding the likes of Whittaker Chambers, James Burnham, Russell Kirk, Garry Wills and other contributors. Rising quickly from summer intern to writer, managing editor and, at 23, senior editor, Brookhiser was tapped to succeed Buckley as editor-in-chief. The author was stunned to have the offer unexpectedly withdrawn a few years later. Baffled and resentful, he embarked on a new career as a freelancer and historian, never severing his ties to the magazine or to Buckley. He enjoyed the steady paycheck, of course, but as this memoir makes clear, life at NR was just too interesting and too much fun. Brookhiser's wonderfully conversational, occasionally confessional, frequently witty account contains numerous stories about the magazine's daily operations and its rise from the political margins to the white-hot center of the Reagan Revolution. Sprinkled throughout are amusing snapshots of the startling array of talent-Paul Gigot, George Will and Terry Teachout, among many others-who passed through its doors. More than anything, though, Brookhiser reflects on his maturation as a thinker, writer and a man who for too long measured his worth against the glittering Buckley, his spiritual father,inspiration, boss and friend. Old enough now to appreciate the misunderstandings on both sides, chastened by a bout with cancer and distinguished in his own right as a historian, Brookhiser's eyes-wide-open appraisal of his mentor is deeply affectionate. Right book, right author.