Saturday, March 1, 2008

RIP Wm. F. Buckley

This week saw the passing of the famed conservative writer, William F. Buckley. He was a familiar face to people of my parents' generation because of appearances as the host of Firing Line. Erudite, charming, to the manner borne, Buckley was known as an intellectual whose famous book, "God and Man at Yale," a critique on Yale University (which he attended and where he was a member of the secret society Skull and Bones, of which George Bush was also a member) zoomed him into the consciousness of the American intelligentsia.

I discovered Buckley in my teens when I was reading all sorts of spy novels. Buckley wrote a series of books with a CIA agent, Blackford Oakes, as the main character. They were fun and smart and tongue-in-cheek and I can recall my parents' horror when they found out I was reading this incredibly conservative man's books. I had no idea! I just liked the adventures! I later read "God and Man" and was disappointed by Buckley's politics; nevertheless, I appreciated his immense talent.

His death makes me want to re-read the Oakes novels. Looks like there may have been one or 2 I missed.