Joseph Sobran

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Michael Joseph "Joe" Sobran, Jr.

(American conservative journalist)

Joseph Sobran.jpg

Born February 23, 1946​
Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA
Died September 30, 2010 (aged 64)
Fairfax, Virginia

Resting place:
Andrew Chapel Cemetery in Vienna in Fairfax County, Virginia

Political Party Constitution Party
Spouse Twice divorced

Four children:
Kent Sobran
Vanessa Sobran Williams
Michael Sobran
Christina Sobran
Ten grandchildren
Alma mater:
Eastern Michigan University

Religion Roman Catholic

Michael Joseph Sobran, Jr., known as Joe Sobran (February 23, 1946   September 30, 2010), was an American journalist affiliated for two decades with William F. Buckley, Jr.'s National Review magazine. He also penned a nationally syndicated column and was a scholar of William Shakespeare. He promoted the aberrant view that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, was the actual author of the plays attributed to Shakespeare.[1]


Sobran was born in Ypsilanti in Washtenaw County in eastern Michigan, where in 1969, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Eastern Michigan University. In 1972, National Review hired Sobran. He remained with the magazine for twenty-one years, eighteen as the senior editor.

In 1993, Buckley purged Sobran amid allegations of anti-Semitism. He was also for two decades a commentator on the CBS radio program, Spectrum. He was a syndicated columnist, first with the Los Angeles Times and later for Universal Press Syndicate.​[2] ​ From 1988 to 2007, Sobran wrote the column "Washington Watch" for the Roman Catholic weekly, The Wanderer. He also authored the column called "Bare Bodkin" for the paleoconservative Chronicles magazine. He was a fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, which promotes the teachings of the Austrian economist from an office in Auburn, Alabama.. Norman Podhoretz, a liberal-turned-neoconservative, described Sobran's columns as "anti-Semitic in themselves, and not merely 'contextually.'"[3]

Removed from National Review, Sobran penned columns for paleoconservative journals such as Chronicles. In 2001, former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan offered Sobran a column in Buchanan's new magazine The American Conservative, but the offer was rescinded because Sobran would not cancel a forthcoming appearance before the Institute for Historical Review, a Holocaust denial group.[4] Scott McConnell, who co-founded The American Conservative alongside Buchanan and Taki Theodoracopulos, later described Sobran's career as having "deteriorated into the indefensible."[5] Indeed, Sobran had gone from merely questioning the Israeli-American relationship at the beginning of the 1990s to peddling the (repeatedly debunked) theory that communism was a Jewish conspiracy.[6]

In 2000, Sobran was named the vice presidential nominee of the Constitution Party with Howard Phillips seeking the presidency. Sobran withdrew his candidacy because of scheduling conflicts with his journalistic commitments and was replaced by J. Curtis "Curt" Frazier of Missouri. Pat Buchanan ran as the Reform Party nominee in that same election and may have polled just enough votes from confused Democrats in Florida to tip the critical state into a pivotal, narrow victory for Moderate Republican George W. Bush.[7]​ ​

Sobran books

  • Single Issues: Essays on the Crucial Social Question, Human Life Press, 1983​.
  • Alias Shakespeare: Solving the Greatest Literary Mystery of All Time, Free Press, 1997.​
  • Hustler: The Clinton Legacy – Griffin Communications, 2000​.


Both of Sobran's marriages ended in divorce. He had four children, Kent Sobran, Vanessa Sobran Williams, Michael Sobran, and Christina.Sobran, and ten grandchildren. He died at the age of sixty-four in a nursing home of kidney failure caused by complications of diabetes.[2] He is interred at Andrew Chapel Cemetery in Vienna in Fairfax County, Virginia.[8]

Upon Sobran's death, Pat Buchanan analyzed his friend's career:

His voice was unique, his style readily identifiable, his wit irrepressible, his range as wide as that of any columnist of his generation. What is extraordinary about this book of essays is the range of Joe's interests and the quality of his insights. It reminds us why we miss his commentary - and his company.[9].


  1. Joseph Sobran, Alias Shakespeare: Solving the Greatest Literary Mystery of All Time, 1997.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Michael Joseph "Joe" Sobran. Retrieved on June 4, 2020.
  3. William F. Buckley , Jr. (December 30, 1991). In search of anti-Semitism'what Christians provoke what Jews? Why? By doing what? - And vice versa. National Review. Retrieved on June 4, 2020.
  4. Timothy Stanley, The Crusader: The Life and Tumultuous Times of Pat Buchanan (New York City: St. Martin's Press, 2012), p. 359; isbn=|978-0-312-58174-9.
  7. Presidency 2000. Retrieved on June 4, 2020.
  8. Michael Joseph "Joe" Sobran, Jr.. Retrieved on June 4, 2020; there are two Findagrave links to Sobran; this once gives the cemetery.
  9. Joseph: Sobran: The National Review Years, Articles from 1974 to 1991. Retrieved on June 4, 2020.