Apr 4, 2011
Miles Gone By
William F. Buckley, Jr.
(Washington, DC: Regnery, 2004)
By my last count, more than two thirds of the books published by William F. Buckley, Jr., contain references to Whittaker Chambers.
The majority of these references are re-workings of previous material — from a surprisingly few number of original pieces, if one checks.
Miles Gone By falls into a smaller group within those: a simple reprinting of “un-reworked” work, as it were. In this case, Buckley republished the final chapter from Odyssey of a Friend: Whittaker Chambers’ Letters to William F. Buckley, Jr., 1954-1961 (1969).
(Originally, Buckley edited Chambers letters with his own notes and published the book with a foreword by Ralph de Toledano. The 1987 reprint included a new foreward by Lance Morrow and demoted Ralph de Toledano’s foreward to an epilogue.)
The accompanying CD contains two short reflections about Chambers at National Review, such as filling with pipe tobacco smoke his little cubicle (which, Garry Wills once wrote me, he had inherited). “Everything he wrote had intellectual and stylistic distinction and above all the intense emotional quality of the man,” Buckley says. (Walter Cronkite introduces each segment.)