Book Review: ‘Open to Debate’



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

There has been no conservative in modern times more erudite than William F. Buckley.

When he began his decades-long talk television show, Firing Line, the anti-war sentiment was growing quickly and the Left was stealing an entire generation. It was 1966, and the Vietnam War was losing the hearts and minds of America’s youth.

Buckley was the voice of the loyal opposition to the Left, and remains unparalleled in American political discourse today. The founder of National Review, he showed America that conservatism could be intellectual and principled.

Open to Debate is a behind-the-set portrait of Buckley that reveals him as the champion of conservative ideas, the finger in the dike against the liberal media. He took on the smartest people on the Left, but with respect.

Buckley is revered by thinking conservatives even today. He was no Andrew Brietbart or Rush Limbaugh. He is the gold standard of what it means to be an ideological warrior, and has lessons to teach the shouters and verbal bomb-throwers of today’s media.

As we head into the gift-giving season, this is book worthy of the thinking conservative in your life.