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We’ve Been Keeping the Tablets for You


This big (469 pages), beautiful 1988 hardcover collection – edited by Bill Buckley and Charles Kesler – is as important now as when it was first published. Brimming with seminal essays on conservatism, freedom, tradition, government, spirituality, and much more, and featuring contributions by giants such as Frank Meyer, Harry Jaffa, Milton Friedman, Russell Kirk, Friedrich Hayek, Leo Strauss, James Burnham, George Will, and Gerhart Niemeyer, Keeping the Tablets should be in every conservative’s library. As with other recent book sales here, we have 10 remaining copies that were once part of Bill Buckley’s private collection.  The hardcover edition of Keeping the Tablets sells in used-book stores for up to $100 – our copies are in excellent shape and available for $50 (which includes shipping and handling). Order here.

By the way, you should find of interest what George Nash had to say about Keeping the Tablets in 1988 in National Review


At this critical juncture in the nation’s political and intellectual journey, it is singularly fitting that William F. Buckley Jr. has compiled an anthology of modern American conservative thought, with the able assistance of Charles R. Kesler, a frequent contributor to National Review. Although officially a revised edition of American Conservative Thought in the Twentieth Century (published in 1970), the volume at hand is essentially new. Less than one-third of the material appearing in the 1970 edition is reprinted here, enabling the editors to assemble a fresh, updated, and, in Kesler’s words, “representative selection of the best of American conservative thought.”

Usually, when one inspects an anthology, a few of its components seem marginal. Not here: every one of this hefty volume’s 26 selections truly belongs. Here one finds seminal essays and excerpts from books by such luminaries of the post-1945 conservative renaissance as Richard Weaver, Friedrich Hayek, James Burnham, Milton Friedman, and Russell Kirk. Here, too, are generous samplings from some of the Right’s leading political philosophers (Strauss, Voegelin, Kendall, and Jaffa, among others), as well as such influential younger thinkers as Charles Murray, Thomas Sowell, and George Will. The neoconservative impulse is represented by Norman Podhoretz and Jeane Kirkpatrick. . . . And topping off the confection are sublime and moving contributions by Whittaker Chambers and Albert Jay Nock.

Reading this impressive collection prompts many thoughts. First, one is struck anew by the philosophic introspection, literary breadth, and historical learning of most of the contributors. As their frequent and unforced allusions to ancient and modern figures attest, these are individuals who are genuinely at home in Western civilization. For them our heritage matters; it can teach. One wonders whether an anthology of modern liberal thought would disclose the same attributes in such abundance.

UPDATE: This item has sold out.


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