John R. Coyne Jr.

John R. Coyne Jr. a former White House speech-writer, is co-author with Linda Bridges of Strictly Right: William F. Buckley Jr. and the American Conservative Movement (Wiley).

William F. Buckley Jr.: Still Strictly Right


From the earliest days, writes Dr. Alvin S Felzenberg, a noted presidential historian and principal spokesman for the 9/11 Commission, “William F. Buckley Jr. presumed to tell heads of state what to do.”

Depending on whether you accept his mother’s or father’s version, when Bill Buckley was either six or seven, he wrote King George V of England, demanding the United Kingdom immediately repay the debt owed to the United States after World War I.

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Padding the Résumé


HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton By Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes (Crown, 448 pages, $26) Groundhog day, all over again, and we’re already off and running. Out in front of the pack for 2016, just as in 2008, is HRC, which is what Hillary Clinton told Ellen DeGeneres to call her. Whatever […]

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Portrait of a Lady


Margaret Thatcher: Power and PersonalityBy Jonathan Aitken(Bloomsbury, 764 pages, $35) In his splendid Nixon: A Life (1993), the book many credit with setting in motion the serious reevaluation of Richard Nixon and his presidency, Jonathan Aitken writes in a note: “Nixon’s childhood duties as a junior shopkeeper bear an intriguing similarity to the upbringing of […]

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The Great American Novel


Norman Mailer: A Double LifeBy J. Michael Lennon(Simon & Schuster, 948 pages, $40) This thick block of a book is packed with facts, literary analysis, and well-drawn portraits of the people who played roles in Norman Mailer’s life and career, all written in a carefully modulated and steady prose, with no wasted words. J. Michael […]

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The Big Bow-Wow


Flight of the Eagle: The Grand Strategies That Brought America From Colonial Dependence to World Leadershipby Conrad Black(Encounter Books, 746 pages, $35.99) SIR WALTER SCOTT, writing in 1826 of his admiration for Jane Austen’s “talent for describing the involvements and feelings and characters of ordinary life,” contrasted it with his own abilities. Austen’s common touch […]

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The Texas Way: An Alternative Model


Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of TexasBy Erica Grieder(Public Affairs, 304 pages, $26.99) IN THE CAPITAL of the world’s mightiest nation, until the recent cloudburst of scandal, the preoccupations were the rights of men who want to be women and women who want to be men; the rights […]

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Ailes: A Voice for the Silent Majority


Roger Ailes: Off CameraBy Zev Chafets(Sentinel, 258 pages, $26.95) DURING THE LAST CAMPAIGN, there was a widely circulated photo taken in a diner of Joe Biden, wearing a strange sly smirk and squeezing a biker’s woman. She looks uncomfortable, and her biker looks hostilely bemused, perhaps thinking of how this would play out if it […]

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Tangles of Pathologies


The Eve of Destruction: How 1965 Transformed AmericaBy James T. Patterson(Basic Books, 210 pages, $28.99) IF YOU’VE FOLLOWED the dreary progress of Lyndon Johnson as Robert Caro drags him from volume to volume, you’re probably heartily sick of hearing his story. You know what a terrible hash he made of the presidency handed to him by […]

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An Enduring Partnership


Ike and Dick: Portrait of a Strange Political MarriageBy Jeffrey Frank(Simon & Schuster, 434 pages, $30) Damn,” was the initial reaction. Although 40 years have passed, here comes another one: another book by another of those East Coast liberal scribblers—Pat Buchanan calls them “the offspring of the old jackal pack”—out to kick Richard Nixon around […]

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Spies, Traitors, Agents of Influence, and Useful Idiots


Stalin’s Secret Agents: The Subversion of Roosevelt’s GovernmentBy M. Stanton Evans and Herbert Romerstein(Threshold Editions, 294 pages, $26) There were giants in those days, and Stan Evans is still standing, a man of great wit and erudition, a fighting journalist whom several generations of young conservatives have gladly followed into ideological battle. The wit was on full […]

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