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A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives of the Twentieth Century

by William F. Buckley, Jr. and James Rosen, 336 Pages
Publisher: Crown Forum, Oct 4, 2016
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A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives of the Twentieth Century

by William F. Buckley, Jr. and James Rosen, 336 Pages
Publisher: Crown Forum, Oct 4, 2016

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 sheds 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.

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About William F. Buckley, Jr.

William F. Buckley, Jr. was the renaissance man of modern American conservatism. He was the founder and editor in chief of National Review, a syndicated columnist, the host of Firing Line (TV’s longest-running weekly public-affairs program), the author of more than 50 books, and a college lecturer for nearly five decades. His mighty stream of words is almost surely unequalled by any other writer of the past 100 years.

Before Bill Buckley came along, American conservatism was composed of “a congeries of ill assorted half-enemies,” in the words of long-time National Review publisher Bill Rusher. [1] Buckley purged the conservative movement of its extremist elements and united the rest by persuading traditionalists, libertarians, and anti-Communists to focus on a common enemy: liberalism.

Buckley’s vision of ordered liberty shaped and guided modern conservatism from its infancy in the 1950s to its present-day maturity as a political force that has transformed American politics. As George Will has written, “Before there was Ronald Reagan, there was Barry Goldwater, and before there was Barry Goldwater, there was National Review, and before there was National Review, there was Bill Buckley with a spark in his mind, and the spark in 1980 became a conflagration.”

Born

November 24, 1925, in New York City to William Frank Buckley Sr. and Aloise Josephine Antonia Steiner (Buckley).

Education

Attended the National Autonomous University of Mexico for one year in 1943, graduated from the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School as a second lieutenant, and later graduated with honors from Yale with degrees in political science, history, and economics in 1950.

Religion

Roman Catholic.

Family

Married Patricia Aldyen Austin Taylor in 1950, with whom he had one son, Christopher Buckley.

Highlights

  • Author of over 50 books, including God and Man at Yale (1951); Up from Liberalism (1959); Saving the Queen: A Blackford Oakes Novel (1976); Nearer, My God: An Autobiography of Faith (1997);Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography (2004); and The Reagan I Knew (2008).
  • Founding president, Intercollegiate Society of Individualists (1953).
  • Founder and editor-in-chief, National Review (1955–1990).
  • Co-founder, Conservative Party of New York (1961).
  • Mayoral candidate, New York City (1965).
  • Public delegate to the United Nations (1973).
  • Host, Firing Line (1966-1999).
  • Syndicated columnist (1962–2008).

Died

February 27, 2008, at his home in Stamford, Connecticut.

Notable Quote

“I would rather be governed by the first 2,000 people in the Boston telephone directory than by the 2,000 people on the faculty of Harvard University.”

[Biography is from Dr. Lee Edwards, The Heritage Foundation.  Full bio is here.]

About James Rosen

** Exclusive CBC Author Interview with James Rosen **

James Rosen joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in 1999. He currently serves as the chief Washington correspondent and hosts the online show “The Foxhole.”

Throughout his tenure with FNC, Rosen’s beats have included the White House and the State Department. He has also reported from Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, the U.S. Supreme Court and the campaign trail. His datelines include almost all 50 states in the U.S. and three-dozen foreign countries across five continents, including Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, Israel, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia and Uganda.

Prior to joining FNC, Rosen worked as a researcher to CBS News anchor and managing editor Dan Rather; as an associate producer at WWOR-TV in New York; as a producer in the political unit at NY-1 News; as an anchor and reporter for WREX-TV in Rockford, Illinois; and as an anchor and reporter for News12/The Bronx.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Rosen attended public schools on Staten Island. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from The Johns Hopkins University and his master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He has lectured on politics and the media at Georgetown University and the George Washington University.

Rosen lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and their two sons.

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