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Nearer, My God: An Autobiography of Faith

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  223 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
This is the story of one man's faith, told with unrivaled reflection and candor. William F. Buckley, Jr., was raised a Catholic. As the world plunged into war, and as social mores changed dramatically around him, Buckley's faith -- a most essential part of his make-up -- sustained him. In Nearer, My God, Buckley examines in searching detail the meaning of his faith, and ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 15th 1998 by Mariner Books (first published 1997)
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Dec 01, 2007 Frederick rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those interested in a serious defense of faith.
Goodreads has a description of this book which is better than any I could write, so I'll just give one very biased reason for reading this book:
William F. Buckley is a genuinely religious man.
Even a great religious writer such as C. S. Lewis sometimes sounds like he's trying to sell us something. William F. Buckley, on the other hand, knows that faith requires determination, resolve and contancy. He is not so much trying to persuade us of the truth of what he's saying as demonstrating what one m
Mar 26, 2009 Paul rated it liked it
The late Mr. Buckley, famously erudite and charming (and as famously caustic and condescending: the spotlight also caught his shadow), confesses at the start: "I am not remotely qualified as a theologian or historian of Christianity [and:] my mode tends to be argumentative. ... This argumentative habit makes for poor exposition... [and this book's:] tone is not what I'd have hoped for. ... I am not trained in the devotional mode, nor disposed to it. ... I leave it at this, that if I could ...more
May 23, 2013 Ralph rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
During his life, William F. Buckley Jr was a luminary of conservative thought, but he also possessed a faith in Christianity (specifically Catholicism) that helped buoy his social and political convictions in dark times. This book is a declaration and explanation of his personal faith, his own experiences augmented by the words and lives of people he's known, as well as historical figures. Buckley is at his best in this book when detailing his own experiences in the spiritual realm, especially ...more
Apr 02, 2012 DROPPING OUT rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

When I started to read this book, I had a look at at Goodreads One reviewer, who gave the book two stars wrote: "This religious testament by a wealthy Catholic who never entertained doubts about his beliefs will doubtless offer comfort and reassurance to those who share his background and mindset. Somewhat less spiritual nourishment is offered to the great majority of us who don't."

Well, I am neither wealthy nor Roman Catholic - but I know what an honest and disingenuous person WFB jr was. He to
Sep 18, 2016 Sharon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this book hoping to see and to understand how a thoughtful person processed and accepted Catholic teachings. This did not happen. Although the author provides many examples of people who shared and contributed to his thinking, the bottom line - its true because the church says it is - did not contribute anything to my understanding. Although the part of the book covering William F. Buckley's childhood (especially concerning his mother) was touching, his overall writing style was wearing. ...more
Mar 18, 2008 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: General readers
William F. Buckley, Jr., the founder of modern American conservatism who just died recently, was a man of enormous intellect, wit, erudition and culture. This autobiography, organized around his grounding and formation in the Catholic faith and tradition, gives the reader a great deal of fascinating information about Buckley's upbringing, family, friends and associates, as well as some insight into his religious beliefs. Most interesting, witty, and compelling reading.
Feb 29, 2008 Suzanne rated it really liked it
Shelves: spiritual, biography
A serious thoughtful work about Christian Faith and the role and impact it had on Mr. Buckley's life and his spiritual development. It is, nonetheless, a slow read but sincere and well done.
Nov 21, 2016 Sue rated it liked it
Writing style is just not my cup of tea. Could not finish it.
Sep 18, 2016 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Buckley shares his own formative religious experiences as a devout Roman Catholic, as well as musings from himself and others on various aspects of Christianity. A very interesting read.
Oct 10, 2010 Michael added it
Shelves: religion
This was an interesting book; a sort of autobiography of faith written by one of the architects of the modern American conservative movement. Buckley had a tremendous command of the English language (he wrote the introduction to the American Heritage Dictionary), but I generally find his writing a bit stilted, and have not read many of his longer works.

With that said, I enjoyed this book. Buckley's faith in God, his love of Catholicism, and his willingness to question the hard parts of our fait
Jan 11, 2014 Josh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In his "autobiography of faith", William F. Buckley Jr. gives us an overview of some of the major influences that played a role in his development as a Catholic.

Portions of this book are strictly biographical in the sense that he describes particular encounters with people (teachers, priests, fellow-believers) that shaped his way of thinking; the rest of the book is biographical mostly in the sense that he shares with us major historical, theological, philosophical, and cultural questions and id
A refreshingly candid discussion of WFB's faith, a facet (of his many facets) of which I was not familiar. I knew he was Catholic, but didn't realize the breadth and depth of his belief...not that anyone would be wise to presuppose anything about WFB. He was an amazing man, and lives on in my memory. I can still hear his voice as I read his words--currently reading THE REAGAN I KNEW, released in 2008 after his death.
Frank Peters
The book was strangely enjoyable to read. This was very surprising following the first chapter, which I did not appreciate. The first chapter talked about Buckley's privileged childhood, globe-trotting with nannies and servants. This certainly did not endear him to me. From this point, I became swept away in his story telling, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

In some respects the book was a disappointment, as no answers were made to any of the questions posed. Buckley's form of an "answer" seems to be
Lynn Joshua
Oct 22, 2016 Lynn Joshua rated it really liked it
Unlike Buckley, I am a Protestant, and not an intellectual, but I savored this book.
I have never read someone with whom I disagreed so much that I was so drawn to and learned so much from. He speaks with profound insight, and always in a gentle manner.
Despite my major differences of belief; esp. the acceptance of the authority of the church in matters of doctrine and morals, I felt a true kinship with his searching, his questioning, and even his acceptance of the limitations of human percepti
Michael Vincent
I have read a few of Buckley's works and a biography about him, so thought this might be interesting. One certainly learns much about his heart for his Catholic faith and tradition. He asks many questions and shares insight from people who have influenced him in his spiritual journey. For a protestant, this book helped my understand more about the Catholic faith and the thinking of one who is a strong adherent. I respect his commitment while disagreeing with his theological tradition.
Stephen Brooke
Oct 07, 2015 Stephen Brooke rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, spiritual
Some memoir, some apologetics, the typical Buckley grousing disguised as wit and wisdom. This book offers far more insight into William Buckley than it does into Catholicism, so look elsewhere for that. For those already somewhat knowledgeable about the faith, it offers a moderately interesting read.
David Nichols
This religious testament by a wealthy Catholic who never entertained doubts about his beliefs will doubtless offer comfort and reassurance to those who share his background and mindset. Somewhat less spiritual nourishment is offered to the great majority of us who don't. (I suspect Buckley's original title for this book was "Nearer, My God, Than You Are," but his publisher talked him out of it.)
Dianne Oliver
Dec 03, 2014 Dianne Oliver rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
A sophisticated, highly educated and witty look at a Mr. Buckleys search for truth- chock full of interesting ideas, quotes, anecdotes. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and became less jaded towards Catholocism, to boot.
Timothy Hall
Mar 18, 2014 Timothy Hall rated it it was ok
A fairly annoying book: far too self-absorbed, even for an autobiography. Some apologetical content, but Chesterton is in every way vastly superior.
Andrew Votipka
Jan 12, 2016 Andrew Votipka rated it really liked it
Immensely readable, like everything Buckley wrote, but kind of...shallow? Probably he just shouldn't have written this book.
Apr 21, 2013 Sarah added it
Shelves: unfinished
Never 'actually' finished it. It was an interesting book - just not (apparently) interesting enough to finish it.

Gordon Francisco
Oct 06, 2011 Gordon Francisco is currently reading it
Started it then got intercepted by David Dallak's "Unfinished Life - John F. Kennedy" then Adam Clayman's biography on Ted Kennedy...

Will resume my Buckley read post haste.
Jul 05, 2009 Fritz rated it really liked it
As a non-catholic, I appreciated reading Buckley's perspective on his faith. It was very autobiographical, which was also interesting.
Katharine Holden
Mar 08, 2012 Katharine Holden rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Lackluster, tedious, rambling. Oddly passive book. Reminiscences that peter out without coming to a point. Dull.
Feb 26, 2008 Erika rated it really liked it
personal and well written
Gregorio rated it really liked it
Sep 15, 2012
Robert rated it it was amazing
Nov 27, 2012
Sean McCormick
Sean McCormick rated it really liked it
Sep 14, 2012
William rated it liked it
Oct 02, 2015
Janet Rogerson
Janet Rogerson rated it it was amazing
Dec 05, 2014
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William Frank Buckley, Jr. was an American author and conservative commentator. He founded the political magazine National Review in 1955, hosted 1,429 episodes of the television show Firing Line from 1966 until 1999, and was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist. His writing style was famed for its erudition, wit, and use of uncommon words.

Buckley was "arguably the most important public int
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