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For most of the last century, William F. Buckley Jr. was the leading figure in the conservative movement in America. The magazine he founded in 1955, National Review, brought together writers representing every strand of conservative thought, and refined those ideas over the decades that followed. Buckley's own writings were a significant part of this development. He was not a theoretician but a popularizer, someone who could bring conservative ideas to a vast audience through dazzling writing and lively wit. Culled from millions of published words spanning nearly sixty years, Athwart History: Half a Century of Polemics, Animadversions, and Illuminations offers Buckley's commentary on the American and international scenes, in areas ranging from Kremlinology to rock music. The subjects are widely varied, but there are common threads linking them all: a love for the Western tradition and its American manifestation; the belief that human beings thrive best in a free society; the conviction that such a society is worth defending at all costs; and an appreciation for the quirky individuality that free people inevitably develop.