cover image Nearer, My God

Nearer, My God

William F. Buckley, JR.. Doubleday Books, $24.95 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-385-47818-2

Buckley's account of a 1930s and '40s Catholic childhood spent at English boarding school--and of a family life spent traveling Europe, living in huge homes peopled with butlers and beloved tutors--will not whistle up similar memories for most Catholics of his, or any other, generation. Though the book includes autobiographical sections, this is less an autobiography than a collection of the author's opinions about things Catholic. Buckley and several prominent Catholic converts he consulted give the reader an informative and entertaining earful on everything from post-Vatican II liturgy--which Buckley finds aesthetically and theologically inferior to the old Latin Mass--to such current Catholic hot-button issues as the ordination of women and the use of contraceptives. An appendix presents a summary of the status of religious observances at a number of exclusive private secondary schools. This is a book by an author who eschews the merely trendy and speaks his own mind. (Oct.)