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Typical CIA

Ken Follett, 18 December 1980

Who’s on first 
by William Buckley.
Allen Lane, 276 pp., £5.95, September 1980, 0 7139 1359 2
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... of world-shaking importance, like the assassination of De Gaulle or the kidnapping of Churchill. William F. Buckley Jr. is a practitioner of this method. Who’s on first is about the Fifties race to put the first satellite into space. An advantage of the isolationist approach is that readers can cheer for Smiley ...
Under Fire: An American Story 
by Oliver North and William Novak.
HarperCollins, 446 pp., £17.99, October 1991, 0 06 018334 9
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Terry Waite: Why was he kidnapped? 
by Gavin Hewitt.
Bloomsbury, 230 pp., £15.99, November 1991, 0 7475 0375 3
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... Intelligence Agency, Bill Casey, devised a plan for revenge. One of the CIA’s top agents, William Buckley, was posted to Beirut to implement it. In March 1984, Buckley was taken prisoner and tortured. Casey’s brilliant plan ended in the deaths or hasty flights of several of the CIA’s agents in the ...

Diary

Frank Kermode: Being in New York, 7 July 1983

... Tom Nagel, the sociologist Richard Sennett, the poet Fred Seidel and the conservative sage William Buckley. I suppose Brendel’s intellectual and technical mastery is about the only kind to which sensible people of almost every description want to pay tribute, even if to do so involves a degree of ostentation of which the pianist himself is as it ...

A Regular Bull

Christopher Hitchens, 31 July 1997

Whittaker Chambers: A Biography 
by Sam Tanenhaus.
Random House, 640 pp., $35, February 1997, 0 394 58559 3
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... Bellow replied that his study had been English literature. He was asked to give his opinion of William Wordsworth as a poet. He responded that he had always thought of William Wordsworth as one of the Romantics. ‘There is no place for you,’ said Chambers on hearing this, ‘in this organisation.’ The future Nobel ...

The Idea of America

Alasdair MacIntyre, 6 November 1980

Inventing America: Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence 
by Garry Wills.
Athlone, 398 pp., £12.50, September 1980, 0 485 11201 9
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... circle round the National Review. That conservatism would not exist but for the dramatic wit of William Buckley, a wit which has choreographed into a not too discordant and blundering ballet a motley cast of themes and characters. Wills’s lively account, in his autobiographical Confessions of a Conservative (1979), of the conflicts in a group that ...

Reaganism

Anthony Holden, 6 November 1980

The United States in the 1980s 
edited by Peter Duignan and Alvin Rabushka.
Croom Helm, 868 pp., £14.95, August 1980, 0 8179 7281 1
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... attacks of such doubters as the present writer. I was recently taken to task (in print) by William F. Buckley Jr, the renowned conservative, for ‘chuckling especially hard’ at one of Reagan’s more esoteric pronouncements: to wit, that ‘80 per cent of pollution is caused by plants and trees.’ By way of ...

Bow. Wow

James Wolcott: Gore Vidal, 3 February 2000

Gore Vidal 
by Fred Kaplan.
Bloomsbury, 850 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 7475 4671 1
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... at John Barth and Thomas Pynchon, among others), gave the now unfashionable Somerset Maugham and William Dean Howells their dues, and resurrected the novels of Dawn Powell from neglect. Confronted with reams of words which speak so forthrightly for themselves, Kaplan resorts to academic robot-talk, wading into a minor comic escapade like Vidal’s novel ...

Defeated Armies

Scott Sherman: Castro in the New York Times, 5 July 2007

The Man Who Invented Fidel: Castro, Cuba, and Herbert L. Matthews of the ‘New York Times’ 
by Anthony DePalma.
PublicAffairs, 308 pp., £15.99, September 2006, 1 58648 332 3
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... Colleagues shunned him; the FBI investigated him; congressional subcommittees harassed him; and William F. Buckley taunted him with nicknames like ‘Sherbert Matthews’. He also received death threats from Cuban exiles in Miami, and once had to flee a platform at the University of New Mexico because the local police ...

Ronbo

Michael Rogin, 13 October 1988

Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North 
by Ben Bradlee.
Grafton, 572 pp., £14.95, September 1988, 0 246 13364 3
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For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington 
by Donald Regan.
Hutchinson, 397 pp., £16.95, June 1988, 0 09 173622 6
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... that connected the President to the triumvirate of Deaver, Baker and Edwin Meese, who, joined by William Clark, ran the first term While House. These younger subordinates looked after Reagan; Regan treated him as a peer. Deaver in particular functioned as the Reagans’ factotum, but if he stood in for their estranged sons, he did so by reversing the ...

Southern Discomfort

Bertram Wyatt-Brown, 8 June 1995

The Southern Tradition: The Achievement and Limitations of an American Conservatism 
by Eugene Genovese.
Harvard, 138 pp., £17.95, October 1994, 0 674 82527 6
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... of Pat Buchanan, the neolithic challenger to George Bush’s renomination in 1992, and William Buckley, the acidulous Catholic pundit, while making us uncomfortable about longstanding liberal assumptions? This brief volume is not an intellectual ‘life review’, to borrow a gerontological term, but a solemn reflection on the philosophical ...

Pound & Co.

August Kleinzahler: Davenport and Kenner, 26 September 2019

Questioning Minds: Vols I-II: The Letters of Guy Davenport and Hugh Kenner 
edited by Edward Burns.
Counterpoint, 1817 pp., $95, October 2018, 978 1 61902 181 5
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... In​ 1882, the year Virginia Woolf and William Carlos Williams were born, Friedrich Nietzsche bought a typewriter, a Malling-Hansen Writing Ball. It wasn’t as good as a Remington but it was cheaper. Nietzsche was losing his eyesight, probably as a result of syphilis, and hoped the Writing Ball would help. But first he had to master touch-typing ...

Bugger me blue

Ian Hamilton, 22 October 1992

The Selected Letters of Philip Larkin 
edited by Anthony Thwaite.
Faber, 759 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 571 15197 3
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... There is a story that when William F. Buckley Jr sent a copy of his essays to Norman Mailer, he pencilled a welcoming ‘Hi, Norman!’ in the Index, next to Mailer’s name. A similar tactic might happily have been ventured by the publishers of Philip Larkin’s Letters: the book’s back pages are going to be well-thumbed ...
... two shipments, the remaining foreign hostages would be turned over, along with the remains of William Buckley [the murdered CIA station chief in Beirut]. On 11 February ... Ayatollah Khomeini would step down. Just like that. And just so far does the mind of a Marine lieutenant-colonel go in the White House when he is under no serious political ...

Salute!

Stephen Holmes: ‘Bomb Power’, 8 April 2010

Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State 
by Garry Wills.
Penguin Press, 278 pp., $27.95, January 2010, 978 1 59420 240 7
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... Before he became an outspoken liberal in the 1960s, he was a protégé of the arch-conservative William Buckley Jr. And, as Wills mentions, Buckley himself had been a disciple of James Burnham. Buckley and Burnham were two of the influential intellectuals who fanned the flames of ...

The Vice President’s Men

Seymour M. Hersh, 24 January 2019

... not listen. It would have been natural to turn instead to the director of the CIA, but this was William Casey, a former businessman and Nixon aide who had been controversially appointed by Reagan as the reward for managing his 1980 election campaign. As the intelligence professionals working with the executive saw it, Casey was reckless, uninformed, and ...

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