Miles Gone By, a literary autobiography, by William F. Buckley Jr.


"Miles Gone By" by William F. Buckley Jr. is a collection of his essays from over 50 years. He said that “it is material that he brought together with an autobiography in mind using articles, books and his newspaper columns”. 

Buckley’s diverse mix of his life-loves, history that includes his youth growing up, his impressive and interesting friends, love of sailing, love of language, music and skiing, are all puzzle pieces in getting to know him better.  It would be easy to overlook the uniqueness of this life by labeling the author as mostly reflecting a political point of view. 

A favorite chapter was “God and Man at Yale A controversy revisited.” In 1950 this book was considered very controversial in it’s defense of individualism, religion and capitalism. He discussed the 25th anniversary edition of the book where he wrote a comprehensive introduction for the book.
The essays retell the stories that many Buckley followers know well. 

In the final chapter “Thoughts on a Final Passage” he likens his life to a voyage not really knowing where it would lead in another 5 years of retirement. He said that “you are moving at racing speed, parting the buttery sea as with a scalpel, and the waters roar by, themselves exuberantly subdued by your powers to command your way through them.” (An then you retire)

1st reviewed in 2006