All the virtues of Bill Buckley’s earlier books are here—but this one is profoundly different. 1990 was a very good year, producing vintage Buckley. He celebrated deeply meaningful anniversaries: the fortieth year of his marriage; the fortieth since his graduation from Yale; the thirty-fifth from National Review, the magazine he founded, and then decided—to considerable shock—to retire from editing. In the year in which he became a senior citizen, he appeared, daringly, as a harpsichordist with two symphony orchestras; wrote a controversial book advocating voluntary national service, a proposal not calculated to endear him to his fellow conservatives; and endured the death of a close friend. Thus is completed (perhaps) the end of several affairs—and the capstone volume of a diarist-journal keeper-journalist, who has proved to be, over books at sea and on land (Cruising Speed, The Unmaking of a Mayor, Airborne, Atlantic High, Overdrive, Racing Through Paradise), both his own Boswell and Johnson.
William Frank Buckley Jr. was an American public intellectual, conservative author, and political commentator. His avocational interests included music and sailing, both of which he excelled at. He died in 2008.