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Buckley and Mailer

The Difficult Friendship That Shaped the Sixties

Kevin M. Schultz (Author)

Overview | Formats

A lively chronicle of the 1960s through the surprisingly close and incredibly contentious friendship of its two most colorful characters.

Norman Mailer and William F. Buckley, Jr., were towering personalities who argued publicly and vociferously about every major issue of the 1960s: the counterculture, Vietnam, feminism, civil rights, the Cold War. Behind the scenes, the two were friends and trusted confidantes. In Buckley and Mailer, historian Kevin M. Schultz delivers a fresh and enlightening chronicle of that tumultuous decade through the rich story of what Mailer called their "difficult friendship." From their public debate before the Floyd Patterson–Sonny Liston heavyweight fight and their confrontation at Truman Capote’s Black-and-White Ball, to their involvement in cultural milestones like the antiwar rally in Berkeley and the March on the Pentagon, Buckley and Mailer explores these extraordinary figures’ contrasting visions of America.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • June 2016
  • ISBN 978-0-393-35302-0
  • 5.5 × 8.2 in / 416 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverBuckley and Mailer: The Difficult Friendship That Shaped the Sixties


Endorsements & Reviews

“Brings alive two talented, tireless characters…Schultz weave[s] their contrasting public lives together in a way that helps to make sense of an era.” — Aram Bakshian Jr., Wall Street Journal

“[A] perceptive dual portrait…Schultz does a superb job of contextualizing their differing positions.” — Kevin Canfield, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A largely respectful portrait, but Schultz doesn’t sugarcoat his subjects’ failings…Flawed these men were for sure. But…it’s good to remember pundits who thought big, fought big, had something to say and said it with hellacious verve.” — Chris Tucker, Dallas Morning News

“Illuminate[s], often entertainingly, the cultural and political upheaval of the sixties.” — Barbara Spindel, Christian Science Monitor

“Schultz brings a good-natured, entertaining and, rare in academe, highly readable style to his treatment of two 20th century America patriots whose lives enriched us all.” — John R. Coyne Jr., Washington Times

“[A] provocative and thorough . . . social and political history of the sixties, among the very best we have had.” — Mark Levine, Booklist (starred review)

“Deliciously entertaining and insightful, Buckley and Mailer uses the strange yet meaningful friendship between its combustible protagonists to illuminate its real subject: America’s most tumultuous decade.” — Matthew Stewart, author of Nature’s God

“One might think that Bill Buckley and Norman Mailer were not at all alike, but Kevin M. Schultz, in his very entertaining book, reminds us to think again. In fact, despite their complicated political differences, these two American originals liked each other, tried to understand each other, and discovered that that they had much in common: a passion for engagement, for literate expression, and perhaps above all the pleasure they took in playing their outsize selves.” — Jeffrey Frank, best-selling author of Ike and Dick

“Riveting. In this superbly written account of two of the most fascinating and important 20th-century American intellectuals, Kevin M. Schultz not only brings the spirits of William Buckley and Norman Mailer back to life, he endows us with a subtle yet profound analytical framework for understanding the massive social changes set off during the Sixties. Anyone who wants to understand contemporary American political culture needs to read this book.” — Andrew Hartman, author of A War for the Soul of America

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