In a half century on the national stage, William F. Buckley Jr. achieved unique stature as a polemicist and the undisputed godfather of modern American conservatism. He knew everybody, hosted everybody at his East 73rd Street maisonette, skewered everybody who needed skewering, and in general lived life on a scale, and in a swashbuckling manner, that captivated and inspired countless young conservatives across that half century.
In this autobiography, woven from personal pieces composed over the course of a celebrated writing life of more than 50 years, you'll meet William Buckley the boy, growing up in a family of 10 children; Buckley the daring young political enfant terrible, whose debut book, God and Man at Yale, was a shocking New York Times best seller; Buckley the editor of National Review, widely hailed as the founder of the modern conservative movement; and Buckley the husband and father.
"Insight into Mr. Buckley"
This is the book that launched William F. Buckley, Jr.'s career. As a young, recent Yale graduate, he took on Yale's professional and administrative staffs, citing their hypocritical diversion from the tenets on which the institution was built. Yale was founded on the belief that God exists, and thus that virtue and individualism represent immutable cornerstones of education. However, when Buckley wrote this scathing expose, the institution had made an about face.
"Still Relevant Today"
President Truman is nearing the end of his term in office, and Great Britain has a new queen. It is 1952; the Cold War is beginning to heat up, and vital Western military secrets are falling into Soviet hands. The CIA is faced with a delicate dilemma, for the source of the leaks to the KGB has been traced directly to the Queen's chambers.
"Enjoyable story, production not so hot"
Ever since the botched invasion at the Bay of Pigs, Fidel Castro has run amok. He has executed thousands of his enemies, driven his countrymen to emigrate, and done everything possible to run Cuba into the ground - all in a deliberate attempt to humiliate the White House. At least, that's how the situation looks from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, where hatred of Castro has grown into an obsession. Under orders from John and Bobby Kennedy, the CIA will do anything necessary to kill Castro
Over 20 years ago, William F. Buckley, Jr. launched the dashing character of Blackford Oakes like a missile over the literary landscape. This newly minted CIA agent - brainy, bold, and complex - began his career by saving the queen of England and quickly took his place in the pantheon of master spies drawn up by Somerset Maugham, Graham Greene, and John le Carré. Against the backdrop of Cold War intrigue, in this, his 11th outing, Oakes crosses swords with Kim Philby, perhaps the highest ranking in the parade of defectors to the Soviet Union.
In The Reagan I Knew, the late William F. Buckley Jr. offers a reminiscence of 30 years of friendship with the man who brought the American conservative movement out of the political wilderness and into the White House. Reagan and Buckley were political allies and close friends throughout Reagan's political career. They went on vacations together and shared inside jokes.
A matter of some delicacy: finding the perfect blue to restore the windows of a 13th century German chapel at the Palace of St. Anselm. Blackford Oakes, fresh from his daring exploits at Windsor Castle, is in charge. But Alex Wintergrin, owner of the chapel, is far more than a charming aristocrat and congenial companion. A charismatic hero, he is rising to power, rousing his countrymen to reunite Germany.
Nuremberg's Palace of Justice, 1945, was the scene of a trial without precedent in history, a trial that continues to haunt the modern world.
The year is 1964. Faced with a hard-hitting presidential campaign and a deteriorating situation in Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson dispatches Oakes and a swashbuckling soldier of fortune named Tucker on secret missions to Southeast Asia. Tucker is to figure out how to interdict military traffic along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
"Very Weak Story and Characters"
James Jesus Angleton was the master, a legend in the time of spies. Founder of U.S. counterintelligence at the end of World War II, ruthless hunter of moles and enemies of America, his name is synonymous with skullduggery and intellectual subterfuge. Now, best-selling author William F. Buckley, Jr., presents a subtle and thrilling fictional account of the spymaster's life.
"This book is not worth a minute of your time"
Bill Buckley has created a handsome American hero, Blackford Oakes, who, by coincidence or not, happens to be an irreverent Yale- and CIA-trained superspy. The year is 1954. Stalin has died in Moscow, and a deadly earnest power play nears its conclusion. Meanwhile British and American commandos, their mission to liberate a Soviet satellite country, have met a disastrous end. Jinxed. The communications system between English and American intelligence has been penetrated. Jinxed. There is a spook in their midst. High Jinx.
President Kennedy has selected Blackford Oakes to meet with Che Guevara inside Castro's Cuba as part of his Operation Alligator, a daring plan to bring about an era of détente in East-West relations. The communists, however, have another agenda in mind: a double-cross with terrifying consequences. Soon, Oakes is trapped in Cuba, and the heat is on. Warming the climate greatly is the sultry beauty Catalina. The weather forecast: betrayal, power politics, and sudden death.
This essay comes from the NPR series This I Believe, which features brief personal reflections from both famous and unknown Americans. The pieces that make up the series compel listeners to rethink not only what and how they have arrived at their beliefs, but also the extent to which they share them with others.
"Brief and Unsatisfying"
The year is 1995, and an energetic senator wants to disarm, perhaps even eliminate, the CIA. To accumulate the evidence necessary to persuade the Senate, he needs the cooperation of Blackford Oakes, now retired. He wants from Oakes an account of his covert activity 10 years earlier, when Oakes served as chief of covert activities for the CIA. But, what will the frustrated senator do to compel cooperation from Blackford Oakes?
When a shadowy Russian mole threatens to undermine the free world's defenses by infiltrating President Eisenhower's National Security Counsel, CIA super-secret agent Blackford Oakes is called in to unmask the imposter. Oakes turns the tables on the Communists by piloting a U-2 spy plane on a Gary Powers-style one-way mission behind the Iron Curtain. Sentenced to death and trapped in the depths of the Lubyanka prison, Oakes may have turned his last trick. Or has he?
William F. Buckley Jr.'s first political book in nearly two decades is a revealing memoir of the first champion of the conservative movement. If any two people can be called indispensable in launching the conservative movement in American politics, they are William F. Buckley Jr. and Barry Goldwater. Buckley's National Review was at the center of conservative political analysis from the mid-50s onward.
"A review of conservatism far right"
It's 1956, and the cold war is hot. Hungary has just fallen, and Blackford Oakes is back from Budapest, puzzling over a betrayal and mourning a tragedy he couldn't prevent. But in Washington, all attention is focused on the race to put the first satellite in space. Ironically, Russia and America each have the secrets the other needs to succeed. The solution: kidnap a pair of extraordinary Russian scientists who can put the U.S. in the lead.
It is 1961 in Berlin, and the Cold War is at its most chilling. Suave CIA agent Blackford Oakes has come to investigate.
Orson is a young boy whose mother works at the U.S. Army base in Germany in the 1950s. There, he becomes a fan of a G.I. stationed at the base, one Elvis Presley, whose music is played over and over on the radio. When Orson is caught stealing recordings of Elvis' tunes from the PX, the attendant publicity catches the star's attention, and he comes to visit his young fan. Thus begins a lifelong friendship.
"Too bad Elvis has left the building..."