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Buchanan (Conservative Votes, Liberal Victories, 1975), once called the pit bull of the American right, has composed a graceful and affecting tribute to the people, places, and institutions that molded him. Washington, D.C., is Buchanan's home town. He was born there in 1938, the third son of a closely knit Catholic family that eventually included nine children--seven boys and two girls. Enjoined by an accountant father to stand up for their beliefs and faith, the brothers were educated by demanding Jesuits at parochial schools. Pat came of age with a healthy respect for authority, a love of learning and an aggressive streak for which team sports provided only a partial outlet. Owing to disciplinary scrapes, it took Buchanan five years to get through Georgetown. He graduated with honors, though, and won a scholarship at Columbia's School of Journalism. Exposed to a wider world as well as more challenging acquaintances in New York City, the author found he could defend the traditional (if unfashionable) values that had nurtured him. After Columbia, Buchanan roamed even further afield, gaining a job with the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. During his three upwardly mobile years at this Whiggish outpost, he learned the newspaper business and became an effective editorialist. By 1965, Buchanan felt ready to participate in rather than simply continent on government, so he sought and secured employment with Richard Nixon. At this point, the author slips away, leaving a vivid, resonant record of the influences that have made him an articulate, partisan spokesman for the conservative cause. Apart from occasional asides and a couple of concluding polemics, Buchanan makes no systematic effort to argue the case for conservatism. Nor does he dwell on either his years with ex-President Nixon or a noisy tour of duty, in the Reagan White House. Nonetheless, by the time most readers realize that Buchanan is saving the eventful post-1966 period of his life ""for the next book, not this one,"" they'll have been hooked by his evocative reminiscences of domestic (riot political) ties and virtues from the Eisenhower era.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1988
Publisher: Little, Brown