THE JEWELER'S EYE by William F. Buckley Jr.


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After five years and 175 pages of Buckley's columns, articles, addresses, the typewriter is hypnotized; in his own words, then (about others), Buckley is "a shrewd observer and expert verbalizer who disposes of a pyrotechnical vocabulary and abundant wit and is, therefore, fun to read, whatever one thinks of him." Especially "after you have wrung out the naughty-boy lather." Thanks, presumably, to editorial acumen, this is Buckley at his best--i.e. with a low proportion of polemic to perception and just plain writing. Ranging across ideologies, politics, race, manners ("mostly bad") and morals. Buckley is coruscating on crypto-conservative Ayn Rand, perspicacious but still graceful on (the death of) Eleanor Roosevelt: "history will be able to distinguish between a great woman with a great heart and a woman of perilous intellectual habit." Aside from his tendency to view the Soviet Union and world communism as it was twenty and more years ago, there is evidence of fluidity in Buckley, and, here, a minimum of the condescension and derision he displays publicly. He is most especially a critic of printed and spoken words, their logic and style, and a connoisseur of persons: see the audits on Bobby Kennedy, Robert Lowell, Norman Mailer, etc.; the long piece on a condemned murderer (?); the concluding obits and culogies. The whole is more than all Right.
Pub Date: June 28th, 1968
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1968


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