BUCKLEYS LOVED AND LOATHED
by Paula Froelich
Christopher Buckley – whose famous parents, William F. and Pat Buckley, died within months of each other after 57 years of marriage – is coming out with a book about them, “Losing Mom and Pop,” in May – and it isn't going to be all sweetness and light.
“Writing this book may have been simply a way of spending more time with my parents before finally letting them go,” Buckley, 56, tells Vanity Fair's Bob Colacello in the magazine's January issue.
“I honestly had no intention of writing about them. But I'm a writer, and when the universe hands you material like this, it would seem an act of conscious omission not to do something about it. It spilled out of me. I wrote it in 40 days – no biblical associations intended.”
William F. Buckley Jr. was the author of 55 books, the founder of the National Review, a syndicated columnist and the host of PBS' “Firing Line” for 30 years. Pat Buckley, from one of the richest families in Canada, was a pillar of high society whose influence peaked when their friends Ronald and Nancy Reagan were ensconced in the White House.
But Christopher says his memoir exposes some flaws. “This book is going to land hard in some quarters . . . It's a book about two very complex people. They were not your typical mom and dad. This is not Ozzie and Harriet. They were William F. and Pat Buckley. The phrase 'larger than life' doesn't twice cover it.”
Less loving is Gore Vidal, who can't drop his decades-long feud even now that Buckley is dead. “He was out to get me from the very beginning,” Vidal told VF.
“He wanted me to write for his little magazine. I spurned him, and he didn't like that. Bear in mind that this was a very stupid guy who never read any of those books he referred to and that Americans, being such hicks, thought he was a great nobleman and a real gentleman. I never heard such trash as when he cooled it.”