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Review of “Wry Martinis” by Christopher Buckley


You might be wondering why I am reviewing another Christopher Buckley book so soon after reviewing But Enough about You, which, for those that did not read that review, is another book that Buckley wrote. And, to be honest, when I saw Wry Martinis on my reading list and ordered it, I was thinking something along those lines too.

Wry Martinis is similar to But Enough about You in terms of both structure and content, as you will see in my summary of it. He is somewhat liberal. It’s not really about anything other than his musings. There are other, far more important books to be reading right now; Wry Martinis was compiled in the late 1990s and most of the articles in it are from even earlier, so it contains little of relevance to our current political situation. So, in short, there were plenty of reasons that I should be reading something else and I had that in the back of my mind before I cracked it open.

But, then, immediately after opening it, I remember why I put it on my list. Sure, it’s a book about nothing like Seinfeld was a show about nothing. But, also like Seinfeld, it is hilarious; there were many, many moments during my reading of Wry Martinis that I had to put it down because I was laughing so hard that reading was impossible.

We all need a break from this contentious political environment and the horrible things happening right now, such as the left’s normalization of pedophilia. Books like Wry Martinis provide that distraction; it’s incredibly funny, avoids (currently) contentious political issues, has no ulterior motive or agenda other than to make you laugh and maybe learn a little about life, and shows just how excellent pointed satire is at showing the absurdity of certain aspects of life. And best of all, it will take your mind off of the things that might be bothering you; you’ll be laughing, not worrying.

So, after you finish this review of Wry Martinis by Christopher Buckley, order a copy. It’s terrific, as I hope this review will show.

Summary of Wry Martinis by Christopher Buckley

Unlike with other books that I have read and reviewed recently, such as The Age of Federalism or The Rise of American Air Power, there is not all that much to summarize with Wry Martinis. It is, like But Enough about You, a collection of articles that Buckley wrote over the years, mainly for Forbes.

So, instead of trying to summarize the non-existent storyline or message, I’d like to point out some of my favorite stories and articles in it so that you can see just why I thought it was such an excellent book (or, anthology, I suppose).

The first article in it that stuck out to me was an article Buckley wrote for Forbes about a cruise he took on Forbes’s yacht down the Amazon. Accompanying him on that trip were the King of Greece, the King of Bulgaria, Forbes, and a few other interesting characters that you’ll have to read the book to find out about.

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Why did I enjoy that article so much? Because it shows the level of luxury that capitalism can buy. Forbes owned the yacht. He was hosting kings. They were served astoundingly delicious meals, experienced a journey that few others will, and somehow were able to exist comfortably in one of the most hostile environments in the world. Capitalism provided that luxury and Buckley notes why Forbes was so wealthy: his own genius. And, although not funny, as most of the articles in Wry Martinis are, it is interesting; I have never had a particular interest in the Amazon, but was utterly engrossed by Buckley’s writing and the stories he decided to relate in the article.

The other section of Wry Martinis that I loved was an entire chapter about his short-lived feud with Tom Clancy. The feud more or less boils down to this: Buckley wrote a negative review of a Clancy novel, Clancy fired off a fax that noted that he sold far more books than Buckley, and Buckley fired off another few faxes and then wrote an article making fun of Clancy’s writing style, storylines, and faux level of military knowledge.

It makes both authors look petty. I like Clancy’s books, characters, and stories. But it is hilarious. Buckley nails Clancy’s writing style while satirizing The Hunt for Red October. His pretend Clancy quotes sound real, yet are very funny. And it shows how funny satire can be, even if you don’t particularly think that the thing or person being satirized deserves to be. And again, it’s hilarious. I was laughing so hard I cried multiple times in that chapter.

All the other chapters are great too. The title, Wry Martinis, comes from an article Buckley wrote satirizing HW Bush (who he was a speechwriter for), Clinton (who he has obvious disdain for), and the entire presidential debate process. In it, both Clinton and Bush drink martinis and get extremely drunk during the debate. It’s hilarious and, like the Clancy chapter, shows how funny and effective satire can be. His satirical history of the mini-skirt and women’s fashion is laugh-out-loud funny. His jokes about his time at Yale are funny and show the ridiculousness of the university system and student life.

So, Wry Martinis is mainly funny, although sometimes serious, anthology of Buckley’s best articles. As many of them were written a few decades ago, you probably would not otherwise read them, but they are certainly worth reading and will keep you engrossed, entertained, or both for hours.

Analysis of Wry Martinis by Christopher Buckley

Perhaps I let my analysis of Wry Martinis drift into my summary of it a bit too much. But, as it is an anthology of articles rather than a normal book, and the whole point is that they are funny, I think that is okay in this case. It would not have been an adequate or holistic summary if I did not point out how funny they are.

But, in case you didn’t get the message yet, let me say it again: Wry Martinis is hilarious. I couldn’t put it down, other than when I had to wipe away tears because I was laughing so hard, most nights that I read it.

Buckley’s satire is all on-point, well thought out, and funny. He shows just how ridiculous and fake some things, such as the presidential debates, are. From a defensive driving course he took to the diplomatic relationship between Guatemala and Belize to his experience with vice lobbyists (especially a beer lobbyist he was interviewing), Buckley can distill a concept and then point out everything ridiculous and/or funny about it in a way that few others can.

Sure, some of his articles have political agendas that conservatives won’t always agree with. But they are all either engrossing or funny and Buckley’s voice, dripping with sarcasm, carries through all of Wry Martinis.

The only criticism I have is that Buckley does, at times, take himself a bit too seriously. In most articles, he doesn’t and his self-defacing sense of humor makes them all the more funny. But, in a few, namely one about avoiding service in Vietnam and the Clancy chapter, he seemed to think his viewpoint was more important than it really was. It’s not a huge criticism, but I did find it detracted from Wry Martinis, if only slightly.

But, overall, Wry Martinis is terrific. Especially because it is so funny.


If you have a sense of humor, buy and read Wry Martinis now that you have finished this review of it. Whether you are on the right or left, you likely won’t be disappointed, as Buckley attacks everything hypocritical or ridiculous with equal energy, a bit like South Park. It’s at times uncomfortable, as he will likely attack something or someone you support. But, it’s always well-written and is almost always hilarious.

And America needs that right now. This summer has been bad, we need a break from the constant bad news and horrible headlines. Buckley’s wit and irreverent sense of humor is just the distraction we all need. If you read Wry Martinis, you will have a few moments of respite where you don’t have to worry about BLM, riots, Biden, or anything else. You’ll just be laughing as he savages Bill Clinton, HW Bush, the general D.C. mindset, other authors, or anything else. Have a few laughs, read Wry Martinis.

By: Gen Z Conservative