The modern-day Renaissance man who built the conservative movement The polysyllabic vocabulary, the wit, the charm, the sailing adventures, the spy novels—all of these have become part of the William F. Buckley Jr. legend. But to consider only Buckley's charisma and ceaseless energy is to miss that, above all, he was committed to advancing ideas. Now, noted conservative historian Lee Edwards, who knew Bill Buckley for more than 40 years, delivers a much-needed intellectual biography of the man who has been called "the most important public intellectual in the United States in the past half century." In this concise and compelling book, Edwards reveals how Buckley did more to build the conservative movement than did any other person. Once derided as a set of "irritable mental gestures," conservatism became, under Buckley's guidance, a political and intellectual force that transformed America. As conservatives debate the ideas that should drive their movement, William F. Buckley Jr.: The Maker of a Movement reminds us of the principles that animated Buckley, as well as the thinkers who inspired him. Having dug deep into the voluminous Buckley papers, Edwards also illuminates the profound influence of Buckley's close-knit family and his unwavering Catholic faith. Edwards brilliantly captures the free spirit and unbounded energy of the conservative polymath, but he also shows that Buckley did not succeed merely on the strength of a winning personality. Rather, Buckley's achievements were the result of a long series of quite deliberate political acts—many of them overlooked today.William F. Buckley Jr.: The Maker of a Movement tells the incredible story of a man who could have been a playboy, sailing his yacht and skiing in Switzerland, but who chose to be the St. Paul of the conservative movement, carrying the message far and wide. Lee Edwards shows how and why it happened—and the remarkable results.

About the author(s)

Lee Edwards, PhD, is a leading historian of the conservative movement. He has written more than 25 books, including Goldwater, The Conservative Revolution, A Brief History of the Cold War, and Just Right, as well as hundreds of essays and articles. Dr. Edwards is the Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought at the Heritage Foundation and an adjunct professor of politics at the Catholic University of America. He chairs the foundation that dedicated the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 2007. He has received distinguished awards from Hungary, Taiwan, Lithuania, and Estonia, as well as from the Ashbrook Center, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, the Fund for American Studies, Young America's Foundation, Accuracy in Media, and Grove City College. Dr. Edwards was the founding director of the Institute of Political Journalism at Georgetown University and a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.


"An insightful, short intellectual biography of a remarkable man." —National Review "Lee Edwards has written a very useful book." —The American Conservative "Strong, clean and elegant prose." —The Washington Times

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