As dashed as I am by news of Robert Novak’s end-game illness, I am happy to pass on this assessment of him and his work by the admirable Michael Barone:
I have been reading Novak’s work since the beginning of the Evans and Novak column in 1963, and I have become more and more of an admirer over the years. Here is my review for the Weekly Standard, published just a year ago, of Novak’s riveting autobiography, The Prince of Darkness.
It was an honor to be asked to write the review, and a bit dicey, because Novak’s book takes note of his not-on-speaking-terms feud with Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol.
As I wrote in the review, The Prince of Darkness belongs on the short list of books that tell you just about all you need to know about politics and journalism in the last two thirds of the 20th century—the others being Ronald Steel’s Walter Lippmann and the American Century, Robert Merry’s Taking on the World: Joseph and Stewart Alsop, Guardians of the American Century, and Katharine Graham’s Personal History.
He never stopped being a reporter, Barone notes, and riveting indeed is Prince of Darkness, in which Novak also mentions up front and late in the book in detail his conversion to Catholicism, which he writes gave him the wherewithal to cope with life’s ups and downs in a manner he had not previously experienced.
I am grateful to Barone for naming those other books, which I intend to read, as I am reading now The Way the World Works, by Jude Wanniski, a book that Novak says immensely influenced his view of the world, especially as regards economics.