Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on the Firing Line

Open to Debate How William F Buckley Put Liberal America on the Firing Line A unique and compelling portrait of William F Buckley as the champion of conservative ideas in an age of liberal dominance taking on the smartest adversaries he could find while singlehandedly reinve

  • Title: Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on the Firing Line
  • Author: Heather Hendershot
  • ISBN: 9780062430472
  • Page: 379
  • Format: ebook
  • Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on the Firing Line

    A unique and compelling portrait of William F Buckley as the champion of conservative ideas in an age of liberal dominance, taking on the smartest adversaries he could find while singlehandedly reinventing the role of public intellectual in the network television era.When Firing Line premiered on American television in 1966, just two years after Barry Goldwater s devastatA unique and compelling portrait of William F Buckley as the champion of conservative ideas in an age of liberal dominance, taking on the smartest adversaries he could find while singlehandedly reinventing the role of public intellectual in the network television era.When Firing Line premiered on American television in 1966, just two years after Barry Goldwater s devastating defeat, liberalism was ascendant Though the left seemed to have decisively won the hearts and minds of the electorate, the show s creator and host, William F Buckley relishing his role as a public contrarian made the case for conservative ideas, believing that his side would ultimately win because its arguments were better As the founder of the right s flagship journal, National Review, Buckley spoke to likeminded readers With Firing Line, he reached beyond conservative enclaves, engaging millions of Americans across the political spectrum.Each week on Firing Line, Buckley and his guests the cream of America s intellectual class, such as Tom Wolfe, Noam Chomsky, Norman Mailer, Henry Kissinger, and Milton Friedman debated the urgent issues of the day, bringing politics, culture, and economics into American living rooms as never before Buckley himself was an exemplary host he never appealed to emotion and prejudice he engaged his guests with a unique and entertaining combination of principle, wit, fact, a truly fearsome vocabulary, and genuine affection for his adversaries.Drawing on archival material, interviews, and transcripts, Open to Debate provides a richly detailed portrait of this widely respected ideological warrior, showing him in action as never before Much than just the story of a television show, Hendershot s book provides a history of American public intellectual life from the 1960s through the 1980s one of the most contentious eras in our history and shows how Buckley led the way in drawing America to conservatism during those years.

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    One thought on “Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on the Firing Line

    1. Scott Rhee

      Remember Debate? I know, that sounds like a weird question, maybe a typo, as if I left a word out or something, but I meant to write that. I’ll ask it a different way: remember the concept of careful deliberation and articulation of ideas in a two-way discussion in which two sides of an argument tried to convince the other side of the rightness of their side using thoughtful, respectful language and carefully-considered fact-based support of one’s points?Yeah, you know: Debate. That thing th [...]

    2. Eric

      For those of you who distrust news sources because they don't align with your worldview, or think that a liberal can't tell the truth about a conservative, or a conservative can't tell the truth about a liberal, this excellent and engaging book will open your eyes. The author, a liberal, provides a fun, remarkably even-handed account of Buckley and his Firing Line show. It's clear that Hendershot appreciated the show for its adult, civil political discourse, and especially how Buckley went out o [...]

    3. J.

      I almost can't believe how much I enjoyed this book. Republican? Democrat? Doesn't matter! Heather Hendershot does a fantastic job of pushing no political agenda (Buckley is conservative, Hendershot is liberal), but instead makes a plea for thoughtful political discourse on television that is missing since Firing Line went off the air. I may disagree with Buckley's politics, but I appreciate his approach to dialogue and preference for intellectual debate over agreeable bombast.

    4. BurntOrangeOwl

      It's already changed how I talk to Trump-loving friends and relatives. Hendershot has a flair for fairness.

    5. The American Conservative

      “In vino veritas, in whiskey calamitas!”Those were the first words of caution ever spoken to me by Bill Buckley—they wouldn’t be the last—as he passed me a large glass of red wine. I’d asked for whiskey. (Jack Kerouac, in a Firing Line appearance, would prove the truth of the maxim.)We were at his Manhattan duplex, where he was collecting some material before driving to the studio where Firing Line was shot.Earlier that day, he’d made a rare visit to the National Review editorial o [...]

    6. Andrew

      I spent far too much time as a poor man's Alex P. Keating so Buckley material rarely if ever educates me. However, I flipped to the endnotes several times in amusement at being surprised. If you watched Best of Enemies, or care skit the intellectual history of public political media, you will enjoy this book, especially with this author as your guide.

    7. John-Paul

      I've heard lots about William F. Buckley in the past, but I've never read anything about him until I picked up this new book at the library. When I realized that the author was a confirmed liberal, I was somewhat hesitant to continue, as sure as I was in the inability for a liberal to give a fair shake to a conservative as many liberals are of the opposite. However, in a small gesture of trust in the premise of this book (the reintroduction into our society of honest-to-God debate) I decided to [...]

    8. Cadan Mccann

      Today, political talk shows have increasingly become a symptom of our partisan political culture – pandering either to the left (The Rachel Maddow Show) or right (The O’Reilly Factor). From the 1960’s to the 1990’s, however, the ground-breaking TV show Firing Line, hosted by William F. Buckley, Jr bridged the gap between liberals and conservatives, encouraging an atmosphere of fair and open debate. In her new book, "Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on the Firing [...]

    9. Kevin

      A fascinating exploration of William F. Buckley's long running public affairs show The Firing Line from the perspective of engagement with liberals and liberal ideas. The author is an admitted liberal and but find herself impressed with WFB's willingness to openly and honestly wrestle with the major issue of the day. Issues like civil rights and feminism but also political characters like Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan are wrestled with via not sound bites and shouting but through hour long con [...]

    10. Ronald J.

      The author is a liberal, but this is a fair and well-balanced looked at the longest running TV show in history, William F. Buckley, Jr.'s Firing Line. She even dreams of doing a Firing Line 2.0, which I think is a great idea, albeit for a niche market. An excellent look at the history of the show and some of the most important leaders, public intellectuals, writers, etc in history.

    11. Roger Leonhardt

      I would have given it 5 stars, but being written by a liberal, there is a left lean throughout the book

    12. Daniel Silliman

      This is an excellent study of William F. Buckley's TV show. Examining exemplary episodes, Hendershot gives us an extensive look at how Buckley constructed and crafted the image of reasonable and serious conservatism, positioning himself and it w/r/t issues and movements of his day (civil rights, black power, feminism, conspiracy theorists, the religious right, etc. etc.). The book is also a story of a public intellectual and his media environment, set in the context of the question about our con [...]

    13. John

      My only quibble with this book is that two of the cover images are taken from the Buckley-Vidal debates of 1968, not from Firing Line. Otherwise this book is perfection, complete with a prescription for a Firing Line type show updated for today's media culture. Heather Hendershot is a goddess of cultural analysis and evenhanded judgement and shows how Firing Line was both timely and timeless.

    14. Zach Collins

      Fantastic book, recommend to anyone interested in political discussion (that is rational, coherent discussion). It doesn't matter whether you lean left or right, truly a wonderful book; though when coming upon the quotations of Buckley Jr. in the text one might want to have a dictionary handy at all times

    15. Dean

      Buckley is rolling in his grave. If he were still here he once again would intellectual vanguish the lunatic fringe on the alt right. He is missed. A great read for any real conservative.

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