A Torch Kept Lit

Great Lives of the Twentieth Century
eBook

A Torch Kept Lit book cover
Buy
Add A Torch Kept Lit to Goodreads

A unique collection of eulogies of the twentieth century's greatest figures, written by conservative icon William F. Buckley, Jr. and compiled by National Review and Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen.

In a half-century on the national stage, William F. Buckley, Jr. achieved unique stature as a polemicist and the undisputed godfather of modern American conservatism. He knew everybody, hosted everybody at his East 73rd Street maisonette, skewered everybody who needed skewering, and in general lived life on a scale, and in a swashbuckling manner, that captivated and inspired countless young conservatives and even many who rejected his politics.

Among all of his distinctions, which include founding the conservative magazine National Review and serving as host on the long running talk show Firing Line, Buckley was a master of that most elusive of art forms: the eulogy. Buckley drew on his unrivaled gifts in what he liked to call "the controversial arts" to mourn, celebrate, or seek eternal mercy for the men and women who touched his life and the nation; to conjure their personalities, recall memorable moments, herald their greatness; or to remind readers of why a given individual, even with the grace that death can uniquely confer, should be remembered as evil.

At all points, these remembrances reflect Buckley's singular voice, with its elegant touch and mordant humor, and lend to the lives departed a final tribute consistent with their own careers, lives, and accomplishments. Of the more than 200 eulogies located in Buckley's vast archive of published works, A Torch Kept Lit collects the very best, those remembering the most consequential lives (Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan), the most famous to today's readers (Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Jacqueline Onassis, Princess Diana), those who loomed largest in the conservative movement (Evan Galbraith, Milton Friedman), the most accomplished in the literary world (Truman Capote, William Shawn, Norman Mailer), the most mysterious (Soviet spy Alger Hiss, CIA spymaster Richard Helms), and those most dear to WFB (his parents and wife).

 

Praise

“William F. Buckley, Jr. was a master of many things.  This collection of obituaries and eulogies that he wrote over the course of his extraordinary career, admirably curated and eloquently introduced by James Rosen, may well establish WFB as the modern master of this literary form.  I have read every single one of my father’s 60-odd books.  I do not exaggerate to propose that this may prove to be William F. Buckley’s finest book ever.”
—Christopher Buckley

"William F. Buckley was both an ideological warrior and a bon vivant with a talent for friendship. He understood that a well-lived life should be simultaneously serious and fun, and that a death calls for a summing up, both measured and elegant. This volume gathers some of Buckley's best eulogies, deftly placed in context by James Rosen. It is a timely gift to a nation much in need of a reminder that one can be fervently engaged in public controversies without being coarse or unforgiving."
—George F. Will

"Compiling the best eulogies written by William F. Buckley is so inspired a concept that many political writers, myself included, will kick ourselves for not having thought of it first. But the idea was James Rosen’s, and he has executed it with skill and affection—and a great reporter’s nose for the story. The result is a work of literary art."
—Carl M. Cannon, Executive Editor, RealClearPolitics

"Acclaimed journalist, author, and Buckleyphile James Rosen has done a masterful job collecting, and contextualizing, these testaments to epic lives of the Twentieth Century by William F. Buckley, Jr. – a figure who indisputably deserves to be counted among them."
—Jonah Goldberg, author, columnist and senior editor, National Review

"William F. Buckley's sketches and vignettes of the prominent people of his time are absolute gems, and so are the introductions by James Rosen. A book to own, to read – and read again."
—Brit Hume, Senior Political Analyst, Fox News Channel

A Torch Kept Lit

A unique collection of eulogies of the twentieth century's greatest figures, written by conservative icon William F. Buckley, Jr. and compiled by National Review and Fox News chief Washington correspondent James… More

Brothers No More

Bestselling author William F. Buckley, Jr., offers a terrific new novel—in the gloriously gripping tradition of Howard Fast, Irwin Shaw, and Jeffery Archer—of men and women caught between the force… More