This entire jaunt would have been unthinkable but for you,” said famed conservative William F. Buckley Jr. to National Review’s longtime publisher, William Rusher. But Rusher is more than just a crucial figure in the history of the Right’s leading magazine. He is a conservative wise man whose many contributions are underappreciated, as this meticulously researched biography reveals.
David B. Frisk paints a masterful portrait of an erudite, witty, yet earnest leader who served as an indispensable link between the Right’s theorists and its political practitioners throughout conservatism’s historic rise. He shows how the versatile Rusher pushed colleagues to engage actively in politics, in the spirit of a maxim often attributed to Ronald Reagan: “If not us, who? If not now, when?”
To write If Not Us, Who? Frisk conducted dozens of interviews and pored over Rusher’s correspondence and public writings. He vividly captures both the joys and the struggles at National Review, including Rusher’s close but complex relationship with the legendary Buckley. Frisk also uncovers Rusher’s contributions to the conservative ascendancy, from the pivotal Goldwater campaign through the Reagan era and beyond.