You'll also meet Buckley's friends: Ronald Reagan, Henry Kissinger, Clare Boothe Luce, Tom Wolfe, John Kenneth Galbraith, David Niven, and many others.
Along the way, the listener will be treated to Buckley's romance with wine, his love of the right word, his intoxication with music, and his joy in skiing and travel.
©2004 William F. Buckley, Jr.; (P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks
Bill Buckley has been a titan of political thought for the last half century and was seminal to my own adult political formation. Therefore, my personal veneration of the man may lend to a biased view of this book. That said, because this book is actually a conglomeration of previously published material, it occasionally suffers from a lack of flow. However, if you are interested in the man himself, then this book is for you. The fact that it is narrated by the author, adds greatly to the experience. While there are passages on subjects that I would not consider cynosure (I am not a sailor and am not particularly interested in that pastime), I still give the audio book a 5-star rating based on the overall experience.
I knew of Buckley from his appearances on Firing Line, his newspaper columns, and occasional speeches and essays. I read this book immediately upon concluding Christopher Buckley's "Losing Mum and Pup" to see why Christo (if I may be so familiar) was so fond of his father. The book is a series of, for the most part, apolitical essays about life -- interesting people he has known, places he has traveled, and his two favorite outdoor pursuits, sailing and skiing. He shows himself to have been warm, witty, considerate, and a boon companion on his adventures. I found myself wishing the book could go on and on. Having the author narrate a personal book like this is helpful because he can add an arch tone to suggest a humorous jab that might be missed by the casual reader. Doubtless my favorite story was about the "Angel of Craig's Point," about which I will say no more. Read the book. I intend to read more of his work. I also see where Christopher got his wicked sense of humor. Great book, particularly for those not familiar with his body of work. The cover photo is a poor choice -- it makes Buckley appear weak, querulous, and pensive, qualities which simply don't exist in the book.
Narrated by Bill himself which makes it very genuine.
The dissertation on Whittaker Chambers, it had such a resounding effect I bought the audiobook
WFB recited his work with the passion that he wrote it.
Keep up the good work and I hope that more authors narrate their written works.
Fun memoir, good anecdotes... occasionally starts to drag, but Buckley's voice is great nostalgia. Occasional uncorrected slip-ups do not detract but rather make it seem as though you're having a conversation with him.
There are very few things in life I enjoy as much as listening to William F. Buckley speak, so for me this was as good as it gets. Most know what a genius the man was, but far fewer are aware of what a sharp wit and tremendous sense of humor he had. There were times while listening I was laughing out loud.
His section on sailing has been my favorite part so far.
The obituary for his mother was very moving. She must have been a very remarkable woman.
Given Mr. Buckley's reputation as a raconteur, I thought this book would be an entertaining read (listen?). Granted, some of the anecdotes from his childhood, his thumbnail sketches of famous people he has known, and his sailing adventures make good reading, but the bulk of the book is like listening to paint dry. The book reaches its nadir when Buckley whines on for over an hour tearing into the critics who panned his first book (God and Man at Yale, 1951). 1951!!! I will grant you, Mr. Buckley, that we are all entitled to flog a dead horse now and then, but endlessly flogging your dead critics is an act of literary onanism. I expected better from you. I keep this book by my bedside -- it is an admirable soporific -- decidedly not habit forming and it will not leave you feeling groggy in the morning.
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