by Steve on January 4, 2010

I happened to pick up William F. Buckley’s last book today, The Reagan I Knew. He was in the midst of writing it when he passed on.  The two men were life-long friends and it’s an interesting read from the aspect of the personal tie WFB had with Reagan the man.  I never really followed WFB on Firing Line, his syndicated show that lasted over 30 years, but I still have copies of Atlantic High and Racing Through Paradise on my shelf.  He wrote many books over the years primarily on topics of conservative politics but these two are his sea stories of sailing yachts over vast oceans.  There is a third, Airborne, that has gone missing from the library.  I miss both the men and wonder what they would offer up on our current political landfill.

WFB takes a bit of getting used to for he was a well educated man and not afraid to show it.  Once you get past his somewhat high-brow attitude and dry wit you are met by perhaps one of Reagan’s closest friendships.  I’m only just starting it but two things struck me immediately:

Ronald Reagan was originally a Democrat.  The other was more subtle and dawned on me gradually.  WFB’s last book is full of personal letters between him and the Reagans, the language graceful, polite, civil but it is the dates of the letters that really struck me.   There are many cases where weeks or even months passed between letters.  In this day and age of instant communication it is refreshing to read material that was obviously carefully crafted and thought out.  Proper language, full sentences, and blissfully lacking text shorthand.  Life moved at a slower pace back then.

More later once I finish it.

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