Mr. Buckley is, like Plato, a man of disappointed political hopes with a distaste for both the demos and the incumbent oligarchy, and a talent for exposing the sophistries of his opponents based on his own sophistical skill. In this sequel to The Jeweler's Eye (1968) he employs his bag of tricks with relative tameness. Among the routine outrages, calculated perversities and patrician poses displayed in the 1968--69 columns and articles, there are a few truly repulsive remarks (apropos of the lot of the Negro in America: "We need St. Paul. . . reminding us that true justice is reserved for another world") and a great many scores at more and less easy targets: Johnson's '68 State of the Union Message, Ethel Kennedy's grape boycott, Eisenhower's memoirs, the character, political sentiments, and oeuvre of Gore Vidal. The book sustains Buckley's well-deserved reputation for shallowness. But he is no shallower than most American pundits, and far more entertaining (despite his undertone of self-congratulation for being literate). This collection suggests two further secrets of his success: he makes one feel it would be vulgar to dismiss him on the basis of his more detestable political views, and his impieties are after all reassuring.