By the time I arrived in 1963, much of the National Review village had been pacified. There remained only low-intensity conflict.
The most widely known of the early editors, Whittaker Chambers, had died two years earlier, leaving behind few warm relationships, but, somewhat more usefully, a world-historical aura. People still referred to him as “Uncle Whit,” which in wry NR lingo meant that he was lacking in avuncular qualities. But everybody who had read Witness, which included all of us fuzzy-cheeked anti-Commies, knew his story in excruciating detail. What Chambers gave us, institutionally, was a precious moment of opportunity. His willingness to …
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