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Review: William F. Buckley by Jeremy Lott

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When he died in 2008, somewhere amid all the coverage of his vast career, William F. Buckley’s name slipped into my head and waited for me to learn more.  Given the sheer breadth of his work, I wasn’t sure where to begin.  This release through Thomas Nelson’s Christian Encounters series offers a perfect point of entry.

At 144 pages, the book is more of a primer.  Jeremy Lott lovingly captures the heart and character of a man deeply committed to his convictions.  The book covers Buckley’s life more or less in chronological order, beginning with his childhood, walking us through a life shaped by faith, as well as the world evolving around him.

Lott writes with readable lightness, humor and intent.  He patiently asserts Buckley’s role as a forth-telling prophet and intellectual warrior.  As Eliot Ness was to prohibition, you might say Buckley was to the Cold War era, and Communism was his Capone.

Among other highlights, Lott touches on the creation of National Review, Buckley’s odd run for Mayor of New York, the creation of Firing Line, and his passionate hatred for Ayn Rand’s “objectivism.”

In a closing appendix, Lott includes a guide for those who would want to read more, and maps out a place to start among Buckley’s numerous books, columns, and segments of “Firing Line” archived on YouTube.

The book paints a deliberate portrait of Buckley, addressing his successes, as well as his foibles, with honesty.  For an unfamiliar reader, it’s an easy and welcoming place to start learning about a unique and profound individual whose ideas helped shape modern conservatism.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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Written by taj

August 24, 2010 at 11:44 am

Posted in General

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