Roger Kimbell in new Criteron Website:
A Man and His Presidents: The Political Odyssey of William F. Buckley Jr., by Alvin S. Felzenberg (Yale University Press):
This is a book I have been eagerly awaiting for some time. Alvin Felzenberg, a seasoned and canny political advisor, has been working for years on what turns out to be a magisterial biography of William F. Buckley Jr.
In A Man and His Presidents: the Political Odyssey of William F. Buckley Jr., Felzenberg deploys the foil of Buckley’s personal relationships with American Presidents from Nixon to George W. Bush to chronicle Buckley’s own evolution as a political thinker. Widely hailed—and lambasted—as the man who rescue American conservatism from the desert of irrelevance, Buckley was a man of enormous culture, complexity, and not a little invigorating contradiction. Felzenberg captures the toute ensemble, telling the story of modern America’s most vital conservative force in prose that is as enlivening as it is illuminating. No one with an interest in the past six decades of American history will want to miss this wonderful and irreplaceable book. —RK