This is a memoir written by the son of one of America’s best known icons, William F. Buckley, Jr. (WFB) and socialite Patricia Taylor Buckley. As one might expect, the Buckleys lived lives on a very grand scale, and their deaths within a year of each other left the author feeling lost. He wrote this book not just to document their lives but also – in a sense – to spend more time with them.
Average human beings will find it amazing to learn of the speed with which WFB could write books, which he often dictated from his prodigious memory of history and political events. His son, a humorist, makes no pretense of having his father’s intellectual skills and stands in awe. The reader is also surprised to learn that WFB was a daredevil on water and in the air, a fact little known before the publication of this book.
Mrs. Buckley was a woman on-stage, dramatic and often so disagreeable that the author felt the need to forgive her while she was on her death bed. Politics are wisely left aside in this memoir poignantly written by a son who clearly still very much misses his larger-than-life parents.
Twelve, $24.99, 251 pages
This review was written by Joseph Arellano. Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review. This is a “bonus” review.