A Torch Kept Lit by William F. Buckley Jr.
Great Lives of the Twentieth Century

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews

It has been more than eight years since William F. Buckley, Jr. died, but his writings continue to stimulate, inform, and entertain.
-NY Journal of Books


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 across that half-century. 

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 of the 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 (Milton Friedman, Russell Kirk), the most accomplished in the literary world (Norman Mailer, Truman Capote, William Shawn), the most mysterious (Soviet spy Alger Hiss, CIA spymaster Richard Helms), and those most dear to WFB (his wife and parents).

About William F. Buckley Jr.

See more books from this Author
Editor and writer William F. Buckley, Jr. was born in New York City on November 24, 1925. While at Yale University, he studied political science, history and economics and graduated with honors. In 1955, he founded the weekly journal National Review where he was editor in chief. He began his syndicated newspaper column in 1962 and his weekly television discussion program, Firing Line was syndicated in 1966. Buckley wrote "God and Man at Yale" (1951) which was an indictment of liberal education in the United States, "Up from Liberalism" (1959), "The Unmaking of a Mayor" (1966), which tells of his unsuccessful mayoral campaign as the Conservative Party candidate for New York City in 1965, and "Quotations from Chairman Bill" (1970). Buckley also wrote best selling stories of international intrigue whose titles include "Saving the Queen" (1976), "Stained Glass" (1978), "Who's on First" (1980), "Marco Polo, If You Can" (1981), and "See You Later, Alligator" (1985). He died on February 27, 2008.
Published October 4, 2016 by Crown Forum. 336 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
Peak Rank on Oct 30 2016
Weeks as Bestseller
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for A Torch Kept Lit
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

NY Journal of Books

Reviewed by Francis P. Sempa on Nov 22 2016

It has been more than eight years since William F. Buckley, Jr. died, but his writings continue to stimulate, inform, and entertain.

Read Full Review of A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Washington Times

Reviewed by Michael Taube on Nov 07 2016

It’s a shame that this extensive body of Mr. Buckley’s work — roughly 250 eulogies in total — received such little attention during his life...Fortunately, Mr. Rosen’s powerful book ensures that the Buckley eulogy will always play a vital role in intellectual discourse...

Read Full Review of A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives... | See more reviews from Washington Times

National Review Online

Reviewed by NAT BROWN on Oct 04 2016

Buckley’s writing was a torch that illuminated many things — a keen sense of politics, a passion for the arts, a love of friends and family, an unwavering Catholic faith. In editing this anthology, Rosen has guaranteed it will be kept lit for the next generation.

Read Full Review of A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives...