United States senator, under secretary of state, federal appellate judge. James L. Buckley tells the story of his improbable transformation from a highly private businessman/lawyer into his "unplanned life" as probably the only American now alive who has served in a high office in each branch of the federal government. This thoughtful conservative provides an insider's insights into many of the critical problems that continue to face our country.
What They're Saying...
"You have never read a book like this. A first-class litigator and brilliant interviewer, Wendy White, probes and keeps probing one of the quietest of the most interesting people of our time, Jim Buckley, Senator, President of Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe during a key period in the liberation of Europe from Soviet Communism, Federal Judge, and all-around good man. Judge Buckley adds informative and entertaining notes throughout, explaining parts of the hidden background that readers might want to know. A warm, often wryly funny, wonderfully illuminating tale about one of the most remarkable families of the last century."
— Michael Novak, George Frederick Jewett Chair in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy, American Enterprise Institute
"A truly splendid memoir. Buckley is, in turn, candid, reflective, and revealing-as well as humorous. Having served in all three branches of the federal government (as rare these days as the Ivory-billed Woodpecker), Buckley calls his career ‘an unplanned life’. But ‘character is destiny,’ as the ancient Greeks told us, and character determined his life course. Once can understand why his brother, Bill, refers to the model American as ‘sainted.'"
— James Schlesinger, Secretary of Defense during the Nixon Administration and Secretary of Energy during the Carter Administration
"What a pleasure it is to savor the work product of an interrogator who asks probative questions and a respondent who provides thoughtful answers! In these interviews Wendy White and Judge Buckley worked like very dry vermouth and very good gin. The result: a very good read. We get a good look at un homme serieux who doesn’t take himself too damn seriously. His reflections on the judicial process struck me as especially wise."
— James J. Kilpatrick, Columnist and author of A Conservative View
"His thoughtful observations on each branch are uncommonly insightful, keenly intelligent, marked by a delightful sense of humor, and also, in my view, dead-on. Agree with Jim Buckley or not, the reader will certainly come away better for having been exposed to his thinking and, regardless of political persuasion, the reader will likely come away both appreciative of the fact that we once had such a quality figure in public office and wishing that we would soon see his likes again."
— Fred J. Eckert, Former U.S. Ambassador
"The book is lively with newspaper clips, photographs, excerpts of one sort or another. But its backbone is the five interviews in which the lively lady examiner gets from the diffident public servant a narrative text disclosing his views on public matters. Buckley, in a distinctive way, tells his story and keeps alive the family tradition for introducing wit in one's narrative, and for acknowledging, with extraordinary gentility, the views of others who come to different conclusions."
— Jaime Sneider, National Review
"This book should be read by anyone, liberal or conservative, seeking to learn more about the impact of conservatism on American politics in the last 40 years. Jim Buckely was present at the creation of modern conservatism and remains an articulate, informed and experienced defender of conservative principles."
— The Washington Times
"It is time we review a book that offers hope for a civil and intelligent future for the United States. Such a book is not easy to find, but we have one:…A country that can produce a man like James L. Buckley and see him rise to an important position in public life must have some chance of recovering from its present social squalor."
— Connecticut Commentary
"Hard as it is to believe, the voters of New York, the state that in recent years has adorned the U.S. Senate with the twin gifts of Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, once sent that esteemed body a man who is ill at ease when asked to name his proudest achievement in the Senate.
…[T]his most unusual and fascinating book…the reader has many reasons to say what its author never would: James Buckley is a man with so much to be proud of."
— The American Spectator
"[A] fascinating refresher on recent political history, while providing a wealth of Buckley's common sense on economic, cultural, political and legal topics that New Yorkers desperately need to hear."
"Simply being a member of America's leading conservative family would make Buckley's story interesting. But his career has enabled him to have a front-row seat for most of the important political controversies of the past 40 years. His memoirs are long overdue… [A] valuable book that substantially adds to our knowledge of the history of American Conservatism."
— Crisis Magazine