The honey-voiced prophet of the conservative revival (Spytime, 2000, etc.) runs his hands fondly and semifictionally through the mementos of the past half-century.
Those were the days, weren’t they? When it looked as though the New Dealers and their offspring had a death grip on the machinery of government. When the Rockefeller wing and the Eisenhower wing and the Scranton wing soared in collaborationist triumph with their Democratic birds of a feather on the thermals drifting up over the so-so-misguided capital. And everyone thought that was normal and desirable! When the fate of the great land rested in the hands of microscopic groups of right thinkers. When Ayn Rand was alive and still objectifying. When Robert Welch was just beginning to turn his attention from the family candy works to the invention of the John Birch Society. When the Young Americans for Freedom were driving on learners’ permits. What a great task lay ahead of those visionaries! Even in their wildest dreams could they have envisioned, say, Fox News? Perhaps only Miss Rand had had that kind of vision. She certainly looms large in this sentimental bit of fiction built on the framework of real-life rise of the Right. Woodroe Raynor is the trusty young Mormon on whom Buckley hangs his triumphal tale. During his missionary year in postwar Austria, young Woodroe discovers the evils of communism and the wonders of sex in one night across the last footbridge leading to Hungary. Looking for further education in both fields, the lad stumbles into the 1956 revolution, barely making it back to the West, taking a bullet in the thigh and a dagger in the heart when he discovers his girlfriend is in bed with the commies. Limping back to Princeton, Raynor goes on to become a pioneer staffer at the new John Birch Society, just misses another bullet fired by Lee Harvey Oswald, falls in love with one of Ayn Rand’s handmaidens, gets to know just about everyone who mattered on the Right, and finally comes around to the blue-blooded, temperate wisdom of the National Review.
Serious, important political history narrated by Dame Barbara Cartland.