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Who knew that William F. Buckley Jr., the quintessential conservative, invented the blog decades before the World Wide Web came into existence? National Review, like nearly all magazines, has always published letters from readers. In 1967 the magazine decided that certain letters merited different treatment, and Buckley, the editor, began a column called “Notes & Asides,” Who knew that William F. Buckley Jr., the quintessential conservative, invented the blog decades before the World Wide Web came into existence? National Review, like nearly all magazines, has always published letters from readers. In 1967 the magazine decided that certain letters merited different treatment, and Buckley, the editor, began a column called “Notes & Asides,” in which he personally answered the most notable and outrageous letters. The selections in this book, culled from four decades of these columns, include exchanges with such figures as Ronald Reagan, Eric Sevareid, Richard Nixon, A. M. Rosenthal, Auberon Waugh, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Arthur Schlesinger Jr. There are also hilarious exchanges with ordinary readers, as well as letters from Buckley to various organizations and government agencies.


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Who knew that William F. Buckley Jr., the quintessential conservative, invented the blog decades before the World Wide Web came into existence? National Review, like nearly all magazines, has always published letters from readers. In 1967 the magazine decided that certain letters merited different treatment, and Buckley, the editor, began a column called “Notes & Asides,” Who knew that William F. Buckley Jr., the quintessential conservative, invented the blog decades before the World Wide Web came into existence? National Review, like nearly all magazines, has always published letters from readers. In 1967 the magazine decided that certain letters merited different treatment, and Buckley, the editor, began a column called “Notes & Asides,” in which he personally answered the most notable and outrageous letters. The selections in this book, culled from four decades of these columns, include exchanges with such figures as Ronald Reagan, Eric Sevareid, Richard Nixon, A. M. Rosenthal, Auberon Waugh, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Arthur Schlesinger Jr. There are also hilarious exchanges with ordinary readers, as well as letters from Buckley to various organizations and government agencies.

30 review for Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription: Notes and Asides from National Review

  1. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    At the risk of sounding like a self-absorbed, conceited bastard, I’ll say that I have an above-average command of the English language. Although it might not seem like it based on what you see here, you should remember that you’re dealing with a small sample size -- so there. I have a long way to go, though I think my technical writing has come a long way even since I completed my dissertation. The point here is that I used to tell people I learned to write from reading The Economist. Now, this At the risk of sounding like a self-absorbed, conceited bastard, I’ll say that I have an above-average command of the English language. Although it might not seem like it based on what you see here, you should remember that you’re dealing with a small sample size -- so there. I have a long way to go, though I think my technical writing has come a long way even since I completed my dissertation. The point here is that I used to tell people I learned to write from reading The Economist. Now, this is partially true, and I recommend Economist to anyone who wants to keep up with the world, as opposed to the US, which you can do with Time or Newsweek or US News & World Report. However, saying that’s where I learned to write is a bit of a fib. Back when I had money to spend on such things, I was a proud subscriber to William F. Buckley’s “National Review”, and read it cover-to-cover eagerly upon its arrival. In its pages I found wonderfully diverse and colorful examples of not just how to communicate in writing, but why. It helped build my respect for writing and laid the foundation for my eventual entry into academia and acquisition of a doctorate. The regular “Notes & Asides” column, in which WFB would respond in print to letters from readers, was a highlight for me as for many other NR readers. You’d have to have read NR for a while to get just the right sense of the cross-section of the readership that felt motivated to write in. If you did that, you might then understand why WFB could be short, caustic, and self-possessed in such fullness as to invite the vitriol and viciousness that he did. I should say, you used to have to have read NR for a while. Because, now, you can pick up a copy of Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription and find several things in its pages. Subscription is a selection of letters from readers and responses from WFB culled from “Notes & Asides” spanning his tenure as editor-in-chief. Not least, it is a history of NR, told by the person who knows it best, and if you know anything about NR or WFB then you know that a history of NR is a useful view on the history of the postwar conservative movement. It’s also a collection of letters written by a man of letters, an exploration and evocation of the sheer joy of writing and wordplay. And, not least, it’s a damned funny read. WFB passed away last month, and the English language is worse off for having lost an exacting practitioner and advocate. If nothing else, Subscription is a fitting memorial (although I doubt he intended it as such!). Highly recommended, no matter your political leanings.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Injuneer

    my rating is for conservatives; for liberals it would probably rate 2 stars, although I confess that I don't know what the definitions mean anymore. my rating is for conservatives; for liberals it would probably rate 2 stars, although I confess that I don't know what the definitions mean anymore.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    I admit the only thing keeping me from giving this 5 stars is the use of the impiety, (blasphemy?) in the title. I subscribed to National Review for some time (until Mr. Buckley retired, and then only when my income dropped to the level that I felt I couldn't justify the number of magazines I used to receive each month did I drop it). This magazine was always so full of thought and packed with material it was always challenging to come close to finishing it...but I usually read the letters first I admit the only thing keeping me from giving this 5 stars is the use of the impiety, (blasphemy?) in the title. I subscribed to National Review for some time (until Mr. Buckley retired, and then only when my income dropped to the level that I felt I couldn't justify the number of magazines I used to receive each month did I drop it). This magazine was always so full of thought and packed with material it was always challenging to come close to finishing it...but I usually read the letters first. This is a collection of Mr. Buckley's answers to some of the more outstanding, unusual, and notable letters from the readers of National Review. There are letters form Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, John Kenneth Galbraith, and others. An interesting, absorbing, occasionally humerus, and always thoughtful read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Zachary

    If you are a fan of language and humor, this book will entertain you. I don't believe it's necessary to share his political opinions to appreciate his love for and skill with wordplay. His exchanges are almost always lighthearted and civil. Indeed, some of his best moments are when he graciously concedes a point made by someone who disagrees with him. If you are a fan of language and humor, this book will entertain you. I don't believe it's necessary to share his political opinions to appreciate his love for and skill with wordplay. His exchanges are almost always lighthearted and civil. Indeed, some of his best moments are when he graciously concedes a point made by someone who disagrees with him.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    After having worked at a couple of small newspapers in mid-Missouri and having dealt with publication renewals for a couple of libraries this title intrigued me. Conservative writer and public figure, William F. Buckley Jr., kept a file of what he considered the most interesting letters to the editor from the National Review. As the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief he had access to all of these letters. Here is his collection of these letters often with his reply. Sometimes funny, sometime After having worked at a couple of small newspapers in mid-Missouri and having dealt with publication renewals for a couple of libraries this title intrigued me. Conservative writer and public figure, William F. Buckley Jr., kept a file of what he considered the most interesting letters to the editor from the National Review. As the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief he had access to all of these letters. Here is his collection of these letters often with his reply. Sometimes funny, sometimes biting and rarely politically correct this is a brief window into the 1970s and 1980s. With letters from Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Auberon Waugh, John Kenneth Galbraith and Arthur Schlesinger Jr.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Atlantis

    This was a snapshot of a time I lived through part of but I barely recall. An era that doesn’t exist anymore. A collection of epistles giving the reader a window to history. Letters from famous authors (Evelyn Waugh), politicians (Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher) as well as everyday Americans writing to an editor of a newspaper making queries, comments and critiques that appreared in the column “Notes and Asides” of National Review. Witty, nostalgic, and at times laugh out loud funny.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    This was a wonderful read and a great compilation of Notes & Asides from the National Review magazine. Buckley had a way with words and language that will probably never be matched. The correspondence between EFB and Art Buchwald about Hertz was charming and hilarious through line in the second half of the book. Overall, regardless of politics this is a great read and will make you laugh out loud. Highly recommended.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Adam Gravano

    A lighthearted read which gives one an idea of how to have a riotous good time while publishing a magazine, which even while disagreeing with Buckley it's possible to see him doing in these letters. Handling incoming correspondence just may seem like a boring task, but deft, jocular handling of it can brighten up the often boring "Letters to the Editor" page. A lighthearted read which gives one an idea of how to have a riotous good time while publishing a magazine, which even while disagreeing with Buckley it's possible to see him doing in these letters. Handling incoming correspondence just may seem like a boring task, but deft, jocular handling of it can brighten up the often boring "Letters to the Editor" page.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    Lovely collection of the Notes & Asides feature from National Review. It's a reminder of the zest for life that Bill Buckley had and how, once upon a time, there could be humor and friendship between those of differing political ideologies. Lovely collection of the Notes & Asides feature from National Review. It's a reminder of the zest for life that Bill Buckley had and how, once upon a time, there could be humor and friendship between those of differing political ideologies.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Felt disjointed. Some fabulous one-liners and truly glorious comebacks, but one might be better served by scouring the entire NR archive.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    Love the way the man writes.

  12. 4 out of 5

    David Macdonald

    I bought this book having seen an episode of firing line. I appreciated it, but did not enjoy it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    With Buckley's recent passing I was motivated to finish one of his last published works, Cancel Your Own Goddamn Subscription, a collection of his Notes and Asides column. It turned out to be an insightful glimpse into Buckley's style, perspective, and sense of humor. Here is the publishers blurb: Four decades of William F. Buckley Jr.'s famous (and infamous) wit in a volume that will be the political gift book of the season. Who knew that William F. Buckley Jr., the quintessential conservative, i With Buckley's recent passing I was motivated to finish one of his last published works, Cancel Your Own Goddamn Subscription, a collection of his Notes and Asides column. It turned out to be an insightful glimpse into Buckley's style, perspective, and sense of humor. Here is the publishers blurb: Four decades of William F. Buckley Jr.'s famous (and infamous) wit in a volume that will be the political gift book of the season. Who knew that William F. Buckley Jr., the quintessential conservative, invented the blog decades before the World Wide Web came into existence? National Review, like nearly all magazines, has always published letters from readers. In 1967 the magazine decided that certain letters merited different treatment, and Buckley, the editor, began a column called "Notes & Asides," in which he personally answered the most notable and outrageous letters. The selections in this book, culled from four decades of these columns, include exchanges with such figures as Ronald Reagan, Eric Sevareid, Richard Nixon, A. M. Rosenthal, Auberon Waugh, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Arthur Schlesinger Jr. There are also hilarious exchanges with ordinary readers, as well as letters from Buckley to various organizations and government agencies. I am not sue what it says about blogs that the publisher is trying to use them as a selling point here. Nor am I sure that this is even close to an accurate claim. Since when do blogs follow the form of letters no matter their formality or lack thereof? I suppose you could argue that Buckley used this section in the magazine as a reporter might use a blog today: to post interesting things that might not otherwise get printed. Still, bit of stretch. But what makes this book interesting is the way WFB's personality and interests come through. Politics of course, but also language, humor, popular culture, and his many famous and interesting friends. You can learn a lot about a famous person, or at least about how he is perceived and perceives himself, by the letters he gets and how he chooses to respond. Buckley was tireless in defending his, and his magazine's, reputation. He never shrank from a fight that would further conservative ends even if that mean legal and financial risk. But he was a happy warrior and valued friendship above everything except his faith and his principles. He had a sharp wit and a instinct for the short but brutal reply. Andrew Ferguson notes some of these reoccurring themes in his WSJ review: "You ridiculous ass," begins one early letter. Another opens: "You are the mouthpiece of that evil rabble that depends on fraud, perjury." And another: "You are a hateful, un-Christian demagogue." "You are the second worst-dressed s.o.b. on television." Mr. Buckley's responses are equally pithy, though slightly higher toned and always more allusive. To one disgruntled reader who identifies himself, in his righteous indignation, as the Second Coming of Jesus, Mr. Buckley warns: "And I am the second coming of Pontius Pilate." He sometimes composes his insults in Latin--a bit of one-upmanship that even Eustace Tilley would envy. Arthur Schlesinger Jr. writes to complain about some perceived slight: "I might have hoped that you would have had the elementary fairness, or guts, to provide equal time; but, alas, wrong again." "Dear Arthur," Mr. Buckley replies. "I should have thought you would be used to being wrong." Not all the exchanges are purely contentious. The literary scholar Hugh Kenner writes in to critique a single sentence--a long, zig-zaggy construction that Mr. Buckley wrote to open an essay in Esquire magazine. Abashed, Mr. Buckley protests that the sentence was "springy and tight." " 'Springy and tight' my foot," says Kenner. "Those aren't springs, they're bits of Scotch tape." What follows is several pages of literary dissection, with Kenner attacking vigorously and Mr. Buckley defending his published sentence with slackening strength. If it sounds fussy, it isn't. It's a miniature tutorial in rhetoric and style from one of the century's most rigorous critics directed at one of its most accomplished journalists. You can't imagine finding it in any other letters column. Not surprisingly, I came away from it feeling even more found of Buckley and a strong dose of nostalgia for the National Review that was directly under his hand. Obviously this is a must have for Buckley fans, but anyone with an interest in the unique journalistic practice of Letters to the Editor will find things of interest here. And anyone who enjoys witty repartee or the art of correspondence will chuckle at Buckley and his unique style and sense of humor. Notes and Asides may not have been the precursor to the blog, but it certainly was a unique contribution to a classic journalistic forum. And like a great deal, it seems to have ended with him. The world is the poorer for it, but it is nice to know that this book has captured a glimpse for posterity.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gerry O'Malley

    I came to William F. Buckley pretty late in the game. I was given a subscription to National Review as a Christmas present in 1998 when I was 36 years old – Buckley had stepped down as Editor-In-Chief of NR and had retired his TV talk show FIRING LINE. His creative contribution to NR was limited to reproductions of his syndicated columns and “Notes and Asides”; the correspondence and letters section that was 100% Buckley. I initially didn’t know what to make of this obviously bright, extremely e I came to William F. Buckley pretty late in the game. I was given a subscription to National Review as a Christmas present in 1998 when I was 36 years old – Buckley had stepped down as Editor-In-Chief of NR and had retired his TV talk show FIRING LINE. His creative contribution to NR was limited to reproductions of his syndicated columns and “Notes and Asides”; the correspondence and letters section that was 100% Buckley. I initially didn’t know what to make of this obviously bright, extremely eloquent but weird character. Why would a grown man expend so much thought and time pointing out that another author had misidentified a word as a preposition when, in this particular usage, it was more appropriately referred to as a conjunct participle or some other incredibly obtuse grammatical hangnail. Buckley’s replies and retorts were at times polite and at other times humorous and snarky but they were always gracious and pretty. I found myself reading out loud reprints of his speeches and addresses because the words flowed so beautifully around the mouth. Buckley and his adventures and shenanigans became something I looked forward to every fortnight when my copy of NR arrived. This book is a wonderful collection of some of the best letters and other correspondence from 40 years of NOTES AND ASIDES. While its not laugh-out-loud sidesplittingly funny, it is very, very entertaining. There are letters from Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Eric Sevareid, John Kenneth Galbraith and Charleton Heston, among others. There is a hilarious and ongoing correspondence with Art Buchwald regarding increasingly outrageous gifts and “perks” from Hertz rental car that spans several decades. There is a touching letter to Margaret Thatcher apologizing for referring to her by her first name while taping an episode of FIRING LINE. Buckley had misheard the Prime Minister and thought that she had addressed him by his first name when she was discussing a “bill” in congress. Upon realizing his error, Buckley was beside himself with embarrassment and wrote a genuinely touching letter of apology for being so rude as to refer to Mrs. Thatcher by her given name. The Prime Minister’s reply to Buckley is warm and gracious and moving. There are disagreements among dear friends that span decades and one wonders whatever happened to the civility with which people at one time would argue? In addition to the famous and infamous, Buckley engages with everyday readers in witty and hilarious give and take; for instance there is the letter from a Michigan man asking whether someone leans “toward” something or “towards” something, whether he should be referred to as “President Ree-gan” or “Ray-gun” and whether the “t” in “often” is pronounced or silent. Buckley’s reply is: “Dear Mr. Hitchcock: Me, I lean toward Raygun, often. Cordially, WFB”. Another example comes from the title of the book, in a letter from Mr. Morris in Green Valley, Arizona who harrumphs: “Three cheers to Dr. Ross Terrill. He slashed you to bits as you have been doing to yourself for the past year. Cancel my subscription”. To which Buckley replies “Dear Mr. Morris: Cancel your own goddam subscription. Cordially WFB”. One can almost see the wink in Buckley’s eye and the restrained chuckle in his voice as he politely but definitely dismisses this petulant, self-important little letter writer. This certainly isn’t a book for everyone. There will be readers that simply won’t be amused by Buckley’s wordplay and may be turned off by his occasional snarkiness, but there are many gems in this wonderful book that remind us of a time when letters were handwritten or typed and dropped in a post office and people had an inclination to entertain by wit and humor in the written word.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Frederick

    I've read bits and pieces of this book, but I read many of the entries when they appeared originally in THE NATIONAL REVIEW, the bi-weekly magazine founded by William F. Buckley, Jr. Briefly, CANCEL YOUR OWN GODDAM SUBSCRIPTION collects a few (though not very many) of the NOTES AND ASIDES pages which appeared in THE NATIONAL REVIEW. This was a section of the magazine in which Buckley would respond to readers' comments or to letters from other writers, politicians or heads of organizations. Somet I've read bits and pieces of this book, but I read many of the entries when they appeared originally in THE NATIONAL REVIEW, the bi-weekly magazine founded by William F. Buckley, Jr. Briefly, CANCEL YOUR OWN GODDAM SUBSCRIPTION collects a few (though not very many) of the NOTES AND ASIDES pages which appeared in THE NATIONAL REVIEW. This was a section of the magazine in which Buckley would respond to readers' comments or to letters from other writers, politicians or heads of organizations. Sometimes he used the space to react to articles about general topics, but often he responded to written pieces which were, in one way or another, aimed at the magazine or Buckley himself. The sampling covers mainly the sixties, seventies and eighties, but there are some entries from the fifties and a few from just before Buckley retired as editor-in-chief in the nineties. This book provides a glimpse of the life of a political player. William F. Buckley and THE NATIONAL REVIEW were instruments in the rise of Ronald Reagan. If FOX News today makes blanket statements a powerful majority of voters agree with, NATIONAL REVIEW was saying these same things in a very intellectual way to a very small group of people in the late fifties, gradually persuading political insiders over the next three decades of the merit of conservatism. NATIONAL REVIEW was what the movers and shakers in the Republican party were reading in the late seventies. Reagan's election was a moment of personal pride for many of the staff of NATIONAL REVIEW. Anybody studying the conservative movement should have a look at this book. It will show you a gentlemanly side of the art of political persuasion. Buckley was able to engage his enemies and, more importantly, those who were ambivalent about the conservative movement. It's really interesting, for example, to see the letters from the producer of LAUGH-IN. He is trying to coax Buckley to appear on the show and, finally, after several years, persuades him to acquiesce. But what the reader witnesses is the LAUGH-IN producer, an essentially moderate man, gradually beginning to say, in so many words, "I secretly agree with everything you say." Buckley's responses to his correspondents are often humorous and, fairly often, angry. But he is never a cad.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Larry Hostetler

    Books that are compilations of letters are not usually (in my experience) entertaining as much as they are informative. This was and exception. It was informative in areas such as history and Buckley's life, and National Review magazine, as well as providing a wealth of information on language (not just English, but Latin, French, and German). I early on (a phrase also explicated and perhaps defenestrated - I don't remember) decided to enjoy the humor, reading and rodomontade rather than stop to Books that are compilations of letters are not usually (in my experience) entertaining as much as they are informative. This was and exception. It was informative in areas such as history and Buckley's life, and National Review magazine, as well as providing a wealth of information on language (not just English, but Latin, French, and German). I early on (a phrase also explicated and perhaps defenestrated - I don't remember) decided to enjoy the humor, reading and rodomontade rather than stop to keep track of words I need to remember. In that regard,for example, aposiopesis made it to the index while velleity did not. I will re-read the book for the sole purpose of capturing words and expressions that will add to my understanding and verbal accuracy. A quick read, it is also a very good read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kenny

    One never reads a Buckley book alone; it's always accompanied by a dictionary, to wit: plenipotentiary, coagitations, cocatinate, garrulity, jejune, dedantation, expatiation, rhodomontade, thrasmonical, sedulous, prolix, jocosity, longorrhea, to name just a few tongue- and mind-twisters. Given that, Buckley is still better read than seen. His slovenly appearance (not to mention his slovenly posture) on his "Firing Line" program over thirty years did not improve, though his vocabulary astonishingl One never reads a Buckley book alone; it's always accompanied by a dictionary, to wit: plenipotentiary, coagitations, cocatinate, garrulity, jejune, dedantation, expatiation, rhodomontade, thrasmonical, sedulous, prolix, jocosity, longorrhea, to name just a few tongue- and mind-twisters. Given that, Buckley is still better read than seen. His slovenly appearance (not to mention his slovenly posture) on his "Firing Line" program over thirty years did not improve, though his vocabulary astonishingly, did. This is a clever, funny, and ascerbic book. Buckley, far from being a mere fire-eater, always decanted a dollop of humorous steak sauce on everyone he barbequed. Love him or hate him, he was a nonpariel iconoclast. So there. "Do not immanentize the eschaton!"

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Okay...I totally didn't finish this book, but what I did read, if I remember correctly, was so-so. It is a compilation of letters...seriously asinine letters...that William F. Buckley received. Mostly, it is just really interesting how he responded to some of these over-the-top, ridiculously retarded people. Some are really funny, others are over my head, as they have to do with politics, that frankly, just don't interest me to learn about further. I think I will pick this book back up when I am Okay...I totally didn't finish this book, but what I did read, if I remember correctly, was so-so. It is a compilation of letters...seriously asinine letters...that William F. Buckley received. Mostly, it is just really interesting how he responded to some of these over-the-top, ridiculously retarded people. Some are really funny, others are over my head, as they have to do with politics, that frankly, just don't interest me to learn about further. I think I will pick this book back up when I am 40, and then perhaps some of his witty remarks will sink in and make more sense.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Katharine Holden

    Puerile. Trivial. Embarrassing. A boy writes to the National Review and asks for advice, to which Buckley replies "Don't grow up." This is worth collecting in a book? Much of the material hasn't dated well, and was perhaps only funny, witty, or polemical to a few insiders at the time. The invective lacks wit or spice. The humor is forced. The celebrity name dropping is embarrassing. Buckley's The Unmaking of a Mayor is one the wittiest, funniest political books ever. Cancel Your Own Goddam Subsc Puerile. Trivial. Embarrassing. A boy writes to the National Review and asks for advice, to which Buckley replies "Don't grow up." This is worth collecting in a book? Much of the material hasn't dated well, and was perhaps only funny, witty, or polemical to a few insiders at the time. The invective lacks wit or spice. The humor is forced. The celebrity name dropping is embarrassing. Buckley's The Unmaking of a Mayor is one the wittiest, funniest political books ever. Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription is just self-indulgent.

  20. 4 out of 5

    John

    The book is more of a nostalgic trip in time for me now that WFB is no longer with us. Slightly disappointing that more of his own words were not included. The preview on Amazon is misleading because it starts out with the greatest density of WFB quips. While I knew the bulk of the book would be the letters of others featured in N&A, I just expected more Buckley. Still, a very enjoyable collection with liberal amounts of conservative humor--not to mention an easy read despite its recurring sesqu The book is more of a nostalgic trip in time for me now that WFB is no longer with us. Slightly disappointing that more of his own words were not included. The preview on Amazon is misleading because it starts out with the greatest density of WFB quips. While I knew the bulk of the book would be the letters of others featured in N&A, I just expected more Buckley. Still, a very enjoyable collection with liberal amounts of conservative humor--not to mention an easy read despite its recurring sesquipedalians.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    Mr. Buckley: You are the mouthpiece of that evil rabble that depends on fraud, perjury, dirty tricks, anything at all that suits their purposes. I would trust a snake before I would trust you or anyone you support. -A. Ruesthe Dear Mr. Ruesthe: What would you do if I supported the snake? Cordially, WFB

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jim Berkin

    Found this for a buck at a library sale - and a very entertaining read it is! A collection of letters to William F Buckley's National Review (often about his old PBS Firing Line show) and Buckley's responses. A lot of it is funny, a lot of it provides some obscure vocabulary from punditry's answer to Charles Emerson Winchester. Found this for a buck at a library sale - and a very entertaining read it is! A collection of letters to William F Buckley's National Review (often about his old PBS Firing Line show) and Buckley's responses. A lot of it is funny, a lot of it provides some obscure vocabulary from punditry's answer to Charles Emerson Winchester.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    I laughed to the point of crying in this book. I never watched Firing Line or read National Review so I was unaware of Buckley's wit and humor. If you like politics, have a very dry sence of humor or enjoy the English and Latin language check this out. I laughed to the point of crying in this book. I never watched Firing Line or read National Review so I was unaware of Buckley's wit and humor. If you like politics, have a very dry sence of humor or enjoy the English and Latin language check this out.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth C

    Funny read of the responses to letters through WFB time during his time as editor of National Review. Letters are arranged chronologically and it gives a flavor of the times albeit from the conservative point of view.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    I must read more books like this one if I wish to improve my command of English in writing and speech. Of course I had to get past the Reagan-worship, but aside from his politics Buckley seems to have been an OK guy.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

    I hated the title, but some of the letters (and Buckley's responses to them) are hilarious. It is also interesting to see how many of the letters are from liberals, and although there is snark on both sides, there is also civility. You don't see that much anymore. I hated the title, but some of the letters (and Buckley's responses to them) are hilarious. It is also interesting to see how many of the letters are from liberals, and although there is snark on both sides, there is also civility. You don't see that much anymore.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sam Snideman

    I used to love reading WFB's columns. I especially enjoyed, in high school, reading the N&As features on National Review Online. This is a sharp little collection of some of those works, especially if you're familiar with the N&A column. I used to love reading WFB's columns. I especially enjoyed, in high school, reading the N&As features on National Review Online. This is a sharp little collection of some of those works, especially if you're familiar with the N&A column.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    For those who enjoy excellent writing, no matter the topic, Buckley's incisive, exceedingly witty style is lots of fun to read. For those who enjoy excellent writing, no matter the topic, Buckley's incisive, exceedingly witty style is lots of fun to read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    A good quick read. Sometimes quite entertaining. A collection of letters to and from William F. Buckley, Jr.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tutu

    Very entertaining read... especially if you are as big a smartass as WFB, Jr. I laughed out loud several times while reading it.

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