The Best of Buckley

Sam Tanenhaus, doing an online Q&A about WFB:

Q: What are some of the projects he has been working on lately? —John Bowman

A: He has a forthcoming book on Barry Goldwater and was two months away, he recently told me, from completing a book on Ronald Reagan, and — sad irony — he was considering compiling an anthology of the roughly 450 obituaries he’d written over the years for National Review. These last are, in fact, among his loveliest writings.

They are indeed, and I hope some enterprising NRnik follows through on Buckley's intentions and turns out just such an anthology. From a purely literary perspective, I tend to think Buckley's finest work could be found in his briefs and letters and columns and occasionals: His artfully recondite style worked best in small, explosive passages. Which is why, for an introduction to the Buckley-the-writer, I think I would probably recommend Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription or the autobiography-as-anthology Miles Gone By over, say, God and Man At Yale or Up From Liberalism.