How Do We Get Out of Here?: Half a Century of Laughter and Mayhem at The American Spectator―From Bobby Kennedy to Donald J. Trump


How Do We Get Out of Here? is R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s intimate memoir, detailing his leadership in the conservative movement and his relationships with its major personalities from 1968 to the present.

When R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. was a conservative college student in 1968, he watched as Senator Robert Kennedy gave a rousing campaign speech. When Senator Kennedy asked him, “How do we get out of here?” Tyrrell—the only other person onstage—not only escorted the candidate to his car but boldly pressed a “Reagan for President” button into the legendary Democrat’s hand.

This early, irreverent political prank marked Tyrrell’s entrance into what would become a decades-long engagement at the heart of American politics as founder and publisher of the legendary conservative magazine, The American Spectator. Tyrrell has now written a candid memoir of those tumultuous years, complete with fascinating—and often, uproarious—behind-the-scenes vignettes of the turbulent politics and the most prominent political and literary personalities of the era, including the Spectator’s furious political battles with Bill Clinton, the author’s close association with Ronald Reagan, his warm relations and competition with William F. Buckley of the National Review, his friendship with a post-presidential Richard Nixon, and the chaotic years of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Written in Tyrrell’s trademark unfailing and bitingly satirical style, How Do We Get Out of Here? is an invaluable and intimate recount of the political and cultural battles that shaped our contemporary politics, written by a raconteur whose fearless muckraking materially impacted the politics of the modern era.

“The American Spectator’s irreverent founder hasn’t retreated an inch from his lifelong battle against left-wing ‘Kultursmog.’”

–National Review

“Bob Tyrrell has had a ringside seat at the table of American culture for nearly sixty years. From his perch at The American Spectator, he has seen everything and met everyone, from Bobby Kennedy and Ronald Reagan to the Clintons and Donald Trump. With his signature wit and political savvy, he recounts it all in How Do We Get Out of Here?, a fast-paced work of cultural pathology. He has taken the pulse of our age and found it by turns moribund and frenetic, but always entertaining.”

—Roger Kimball, Editor and Publisher The New Criterion

“No one in the conservative movement has been more creative and more strategically aggressive than Bob Tyrrell. His courageous reporting and commentary made The American Spectator one of the most dynamic centers of conservative thought for the last two generations. His memoirs will help younger conservatives learn what it is like to be effective and inventive.”

—Newt Gingrich

“Bob Tyrrell’s witty, rumbustious and occasionally moving autobiography chronicles fifty-five years of fascination with and involvement in American politics. The general reader will enjoy the impish delight with which Tyrrell recalls his journalistic coups, and historians will find invaluable his original take on American conservatism from Ronald Reagan’s first tilt at office right up to the present day.”

—Andrew Roberts, author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny

“In How Do We Get Out of Here?, R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. displays the wit and interest to which readers of The American Spectator are long accustomed. Its perspectives, no less than its narrative, make it a rewarding memoir.”

—Henry Kissinger

“Bob Tyrrell is the most unafraid writer in America today. With humor, experience, and insight of an unmatched level, he shows and tells us what is real, what is important, and what is not. Ignore him at your peril. Read him and follow him to be the best American possible.”

—Ben Stein

“‘How did I get here?’ and How Do We Get Out of Here? Only through
the scintillating pages and picaresque throes of this Tyrrellian
adventure, beginning behind the curtains of a theater of tragedy, passing
across the crowded stages of a raffish and impassioned history of five
Presidencies, and ending exquisitely with a poignant prayer: ‘Life
is short, but eternity is forever.’”

—George Gilder