February 27, 2008


William F. Buckley Jr. Is Dead at 82 (DOUGLAS MARTIN, 2/27/08, NY Times)

William F. Buckley Jr., who marshaled polysyllabic exuberance, famously arched eyebrows and a refined, perspicacious mind to elevate conservatism to the center of American political discourse, died Wednesday at his home in Stamford, Conn.

Mr Buckley, 82, suffered from diabetes and emphysema, his son Christopher said, although the exact cause of death was not immediately known. He was found at his desk in the study of his home, his son said. “He might have been working on a column,” Mr. Buckley said.

Given how much he wrote, that seems fitting.

Mr. Buckley is the common thread that runs throughout the entire history of the modern conservative movement, from having Albert Jay Nock as a family friend to employing Whittaker Chambers, Willmoore Kendall, Frank S. Meyer, James Burnham, Jeffrey Hart, etc. in the early days of National Review, to inventing Barry Goldwater to promoting Ronald Reagan and so on and so forth. He was in many ways the most influential political figure of the 2nd half of the 20th century.

You can hardly go wrong picking up any of his work, but two in particular that we'd recommend are: The Unmaking of a Mayor, which ranks right up there with Richard Ben Cramer's What it Takes as a look at American politics in action; and Stained Glass, the best of the Blackford Oakes thrillers.

Hopefully it wasn't being mentioned in the same breath as a mere blogger that killed him...

Here's his fine summation in the famous Panama Canal Treaty debate with Ronald Reagan:

-Q&A on William F. Buckley (The New York Times, 2/27/08)

Sam Tanenhaus, the editor of The Times Book Review and Week in Review, is writing a biography of William F. Buckley Jr., who died Wednesday. Mr. Buckley was for decades the intellectual standard bearer for American conservatism, and he was also one of the 20th century’s truest men of letters: a magazine editor, newspaper columnist, novelist and essayist — the author of 45 books.

Sam is taking reader questions about Mr. Buckley. What do you want to know? Ask your questions in the comments field below, and we’ll get to as many as we can.

-VIDEO: William F. Buckley (C-APAN: American Writers)
-ARCHIVES: William F. Buckley Jr. Archive on National Review Online
-ARCHIVES: Featured Author: William F. Buckley Jr. (With News and Reviews From the Archives of The New York Times)
-ARCHIVES: William F. Buckley (NY Times)
-REVIEW ESSAY: The Right Stuff (Michael M. Uhlmann, Summer 2005, Claremont Review of Books)
-The Hoover Institution has a number of Firing Line episodes on-line
-PROFILE: William F. Buckley Jr.: A friend of one of the country's leading conservatives looks at WFB's career as a writer and editor, his public life and the time he spent as an undercover CIA agent. (Chris Weinkopf, Sept. 3, 1999, Salon)
-AUDIO ESSAY: How Is It Possible to Believe in God? by William F. Buckley, Jr. (Morning Edition, May 23, 2005, This I Believe)
-VIDEO: WFB on Charlie Rose
-ARCHIVES: WFB on Real Clear Politics
-OBIT: William F Buckley Jr dies at 82 (Mark Tran, February 27 2008, Guardian)
-OBIT: William F. Buckley Jr., 82; author and founder of modern conservative movement (Scott Kraft, February 27, 2008, LA Times)
-OBIT: William F. Buckley Jr. Dies at 82 (HILLEL ITALIE, 2/27/08, The Associated Press)
-ARCHIVES: on the Right by WFB (UExpress)
-ARCHIVES: Buckley Online (Hillsdale College)
-ESSAY: Political Animals: Vidal, Buckley and the ’68 Conventions (Harry Kloman, University of Pittsburgh)
-INTERVIEW: NEARER, MY GOD (David Gergen, December 24, 1997, NewsHour)
-REMEMBRANCE: Mr. Conservative (WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY JR. , 5/31/98, NY Times)

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 27, 2008 11:41 AM

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at February 27, 2008 12:33 PM


Posted by: Ali Choudhury at February 27, 2008 2:01 PM

William F. Buckley had class. Class.

Posted by: Mike Morley at February 27, 2008 4:07 PM

Jim said it for me, word for word.

I began reading Ntional Review in Freshman year in high school. Buckley, by example, taught me so much of how to think and how to write. We all should be grateful for his contributions to American civilization.

Posted by: Lou Gots at February 27, 2008 4:39 PM

I particularly enjoyed his sailing journals.

Posted by: Mairnéalach at February 27, 2008 6:31 PM