An American Family by P-SimonSchuster

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									An American Family
Author: Reid Buckley
Other: Christopher Buckley
Description

An extraordinary and sweeping memoir of one of the most revered families in America -- the BuckleysThe
Buckley name is synonymous with a unique brand of conservatism -- marked by merciless reasoning,
wit, good humor, and strong will. Self-made oil tycoon William F. Buckley, Sr., of Texas, and his
Southern belle wife, Aloise Steiner Buckley, of New Orleans, raised a family of ten whose ideals would go
on to shape the traditionalist revival in American culture.But their family history is anything but
conventional. Begun in Mexico (until their father was expelled) and set against a diverse inter-national
background (the children's first languages were Spanish and French) with colorful guest stars (such as
Pancho Villa, and Norman Mailer), theirs was a life built on self-reliance, hard work, belief in God, and
respect for all. It is no wonder the family produced nationally recognizable figures such as columnist and
commentator William, Jr., New York Times bestselling satirist Christopher, and New York senator
James.With charm and candor, youngest son Reid, himself the founder of the Buckley School of Public
Speaking in South Carolina, tells the enormously engaging and entertaining -- sometimes outrageous --
story of a family that became the mainstay of right-wing belief in our politics and culture. An American
Family is an epic memoir that at once will appeal to conservatives, liberals, and moderates alike.
Excerpt

ForewordIn one of the many delicious footnotes that he includes here, my uncle Reid notes that he has
already had his tombstone carved and that it says, "Shut Up At Last." After reading this book, with
which, he notes toward the end, "I have finished my oeuvre," I'm grateful that he wasn't silenced before he
was able to finish it. While I can't predict whether the general reader will be as mesmerized as I was by
Reid's account of our Buckley family, I can truthfully and flatly aver that it strikes me as some kind of
masterpiece of the genre.What genre exactly is harder to say, and this brings me back to the wonderful
footnotes. Inevitably, after he has told some riveting story, generally about his father, my grandfather,
William F. Buckley Sr. (note the "Sr."), there will be a footnote stating, "My sister Priscilla adamantly
rejects this version of Father talking Pancho Villa out of shooting the train conductor." If I found these
clarifications, such as they are, deflating at first, I soon began to look forward to the next one.Reid does
nothing conventionally -- which is why he is so beloved of his nine siblings (five of whom survive) and forty-
five nieces and nephews. So why would any of us expect that he would produce a conventional family
history? It was said of Edward Gibbon that he lived out his sex life in his footnotes. Mutatis mutandis --
as William F. Buckley Jr. might put it -- there is something of that in Reid's luxuriant footnotes.Take this
one, for instance, about the great elm tree in Sharon, Connecticut, which lent its name to the house my
grandfather raised his family in:It fell to the Dutch elm disease in the late 1950s; the four sugar maples
planted in the gaping hole it left are now half a century old, and large, and serve in my eyes only to
remind me of the grandeur of the old elm, one of whose gigantic branches, sprouting off the main trunk
about twelve feet from the roots, three feet or more broad and almost horizontal until it swept upward, I
could lie upon in perfect security on my back, as though on a garden bench -- gazing up at the sky
through the elm's corona of bright green leaves, its canopy falling all about me and hiding me from view. It
required seven adults holding hands to circle its base. In my mind, as a young man, I associated the
Great Elm with my father -- and when it was stricken, I remember looking anxiously at him, whose
absence would leave a corresponding hole in my existence; who was felled by the first stroke at just
about the same time that Great Elm was diagnosed with the disease.This book is substantially about the
world that man, my grandfather, created for his children and other descendants. However qualifying some
of the footnotes are, he was by any measure remarkable, and though I knew a great deal about him
before picking up Reid's book, I didn't know the half of it. He was born poor in Texas in 1881, the same
year as the shootout at the OK Corral and Garfield's assassination, and died a wealthy man in New York
City in 1958. His grandfather had been an Irish Protestant who married a Catholic girl from Limerick and,
as a consequence, had to leave the country. A good thing, too, as he and my great-great-grandmother
beat the Irish potato famine by just a few years. They debarked in Quebec and moved to Ontario, where
their son, a future Texas sheriff, was born. The reason I am American -- this I learned from Reid -- is that
he had asthma, which forced the family to get into a Conestoga wagon and trek south in...
Author Bio
Reid Buckley
Reid Buckley, founder and head of the Buckley School of Public Speaking, graduated from Yale. During
the 1960s and 1970s, he toured the United States, taking on liberal columnist Max Lerner. He is the
author of the novels The Eye of the Hurricane, and the fiction trilogy Canticle of the Thrush, Servants and
Their Masters, as well as several books on speaking and writing. He has also written for The New York
Times, The Atlantic, and The National Review. He lives in South Carolina.<br/>


Christopher Buckley
Reid Buckley, founder and head of the Buckley School of Public Speaking, graduated from Yale. During
the 1960s and 1970s, he toured the United States, taking on liberal columnist Max Lerner. He is the
author of the novels The Eye of the Hurricane, and the fiction trilogy Canticle of the Thrush, Servants and
Their Masters, as well as several books on speaking and writing. He has also written for The New York
Times, The Atlantic, and The National Review. He lives in South Carolina.<br/>

								
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