Monday, January 2, 2017

Book Review - A Torch Kept Lit


William F. Buckley, Jr. remembers—as only he could—the towering figures of the twentieth century in a brilliant and emotionally powerful collection, compiled by acclaimed Fox News correspondent James Rosen.

In a half century on the national stage, William F. Buckley, Jr. achieved unique stature as a writer, a celebrity, and the undisputed godfather of modern American conservatism. He kept company with the best and brightest, the sultry and powerful. Ronald Reagan pronounced WFB “perhaps the most influential journalist and intellectual in our era,” and his jet-setting life was a who’s who of high society, fame, and fortune.

Among all his distinctions, which include founding the conservative magazine National Review and hosting the long-running talk show Firing Line, Buckley was also a master of that most elusive art form: the eulogy. He drew on his unrivaled gifts to mourn, celebrate, or seek mercy for the men and women who touched his life and the nation.

Now, for the first time, WFB’s sweeping judgments of the great figures of his time—presidents and prime ministers, celebrities and scoundrels, intellectuals and guitar gods—are collected in one place. A Torch Kept Lit presents more than fifty of Buckley’s best eulogies, drawing on his personal memories and private correspondences and using a novelist’s touch to conjure his subjects as he knew them. We are reintroduced, through Buckley’s eyes, to the likes of Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan, Elvis Presley and John Lennon, Truman Capote and Martin Luther King, Jr.


Curated by Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen, a Buckley protégé and frequent contributor to National Review, this volumes heds light on a tumultuous period in American history—from World War II to Watergate, the “death” of God to the Grateful Dead—as told in the inimitable voice of one of our most elegant literary stylists.William F. Buckley, Jr. is back—just when we need him most.


When I saw this book, I knew I was going to have to read it. William F. Buckley is one of my favorites but the fact that James Rosen edited it, clinched it for me. I'm a huge James Rosen fan and knew that he would add greatly to this book and I was right. The book is worth reading for the introduction written so well by Mr. Rosen.

This is a book of eulogies written by Mr. Buckley for friends and people of note. They are eloquent and informative and make for great reading about some of the well know, and not so well-known, people. The book is divided into six categories - Presidents, Family, Arts and Letters, Generals, Spies, and Statesmen, Friends; and Nemeses. I enjoyed having the eulogies categorized like this as it made for easier reading about certain people.

The thing that really stands out to me about the writing of Mr. Buckley is he tried to say only kind and positive things about the people he wrote about. This included those he really didn't care for. It's a very positive thing to see something written like this. It would be nice to see this kind of journalism today.

I absolutely love this book and it has a permanent place on my book shelf. I know I will return to this book again and again when I want something great to read. It's a wonderful book and I highly recommend it. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me by the Blogging for Books program

Blessings - Julie

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