Magazine November 15, 2021, Issue

Willmoore Kendall and the Intellectual Roots of the Populist Right

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Heaven Can Indeed Fall: The Life of Willmoore Kendall, by Christopher H. Owen (Lexington Books, 264 pp., $105)

William F. Buckley Jr. was a 21-year-old Yale sophomore when he met Willmoore Kendall. It was the fall of 1947, and Buckley had enrolled in the first political-science seminar that Kendall, age 38, taught at the university. The young man watched as the tall, rakish professor paced back and forth in the classroom, interrogating his students in an unmistakable voice that combined the slang and southern accent of his native Oklahoma with the donnish mannerisms he’d picked up as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford.

Buckley fell hard for this brilliant, charismatic, and troubled figure. He and Kendall shared tough anti-communism, opposition

To Read the Full Story

This article appears as “The Wisdom of Crowds” in the November 15, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners




It’s all familiar and boring, the recasting of an American archetype into a new mold to instruct, because they can’t come up with archetypes of their own.


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