ATLANTIC HIGH by William F. Buckley Jr.


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For "the repose of the soul," Buckley again braves an air-conditioned Atlantic crossing (a sequel to the enraptured voyage of Airborne), this time with six companions aboard the luxurious 71-ft. ketch Sealestial. First, though, we are treated to earlier voyages to the Mexican isle of Cozumel and the Fijis; a lengthy parody of "Suzy Says" about seaboard fashions; and some jaunty correspondence with Walter Cronkite and Richard Clurman (along only for the trip's first leg, so as not to miss Reagan's nomination). The voyage, hardly virginal, must have a fresh theme--and it becomes "sharing." The Sealestial belongs to a Yugoslav-American orthopedist from Minneapolis, Dr. Popo, who wants it delivered from St. Thomas to the Azores. At the start, the very serious business of stocking the wine cellar occasions a large, heady wine-tasting (with WFB cheating to make sure his choices come first). En route, a documentary is filmed (not yet ready to be shown) by a three-man team. Much of the electrical equipment breaks down--and, supreme catastrophe, the ice for drinks melts! Meanwhile the companions write logs of varying quality, from which the present book will excerpt. The second leg of the voyage, from Bermuda to Horta, is uneventful: brilliant, cloudless, airless days. Amid the name-dropping and self-advertising, there are many, many (surprisingly interesting) pages given to navigation. The only adventure throughout is four days of heavy weather ("Wow!"), while the theme of sharing is less dramatic than WFB's Atlantic high on WFB. Still, for unalloyed but amused self-display, Airborne and Atlantic High may be Buckley's most memorable books.
Pub Date: Sept. 3rd, 1982
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1982


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