The Book: A Man and His Presidents: The Political Odyssey of William F. Buckley (Yale University Press) delves into the history of William J. Buckley, perhaps the most influential American conservative writer, activist, and organizer in the post-war era. Felzenberg explores little-known aspects of Buckley’s life, from his close friendship with the Reagans and role as a back-channel adviser to policy makers to his break with George W. Bush on the Iraq War. A Man and His Presidents is a nuanced look at a complex and well-known political figure.

The Author: Alvin Felzenberg *78 is American presidential historian, political commentator, and public official. He was the principal spokesman for the 9/11 Commission and now works as the director of communications for the Joint Economic Committee for the U.S. Congress. His previous works include The Leaders We Deserved (and a Few We Didn’t), Governor Tom Kean, and The Keys to a Successful Presidency.

Opening Lines: “William F. Buckley Jr. came into the world on November 24, 1925, in New York City. The sixth of ten children and the third son born to William F. Buckley Sr. and Aloise Steiner Buckley, Billy — so called to distinguish him from his father, Will — grew up in a secure, serene, and privileged environment. His father was forty-four years old and a successful entrepreneur and wildcat oilman when Billy was born; his mother was thirty. Billy grew up in comfort, but his older siblings remember more precarious times when their father accumulated and lost more than one fortune. Will’s youngest son, Reid, described his father as a ‘risk taker’ and even a ‘gambler’ in his business ventures.”

Reviews: “A well-delineated portrait of an impassioned conservative,” writes Kirkus Reviews. "History comes alive as this lively and important book takes us on a trip covering Bill Buckley's views of twentieth-century presidents,” comments former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz.