No two people were more important to American conservatism in the postwar era than William F. Buckley Jr. and Ronald Reagan. Buckley’s writings provided the intellectual underpinnings, while Reagan brought the conservative movement into the White House.
They met in 1961 when Reagan introduced a speech by Buckley. When nobody could turn on the microphone, Reagan climbed out a window, walked along a ledge to the locked control room, broke in, and flipped the correct switch. Buckley later described this moment as “a nifty allegory of Reagan’s approach to foreign policy: the calm appraisal of a situation, the willingness to take risks, and then the decisive moment leading to lights and sound.”
For over thirty years, the two men shared jokes and vacations, advised each other on politics, and counseled each other’s children. The Reagan I Knew traces the evolution of an extraordinary friendship between two American political giants.
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