tv A Torch Kept Lit CSPAN November 26, 2016 4:00pm-5:01pm EST
witnessing, you know, like wounded knee and alcatraz and the civil rights movement in the south, remember at that time african americans were not allowed to vote. i mean, that's pretty bottom line to start from that -- that's a pretty -- i mean, it's only one of the many things of segregation, but native americans got citizenship in 14948 without asking for it. i mean, it was bestowed but, you know, i was really inspired by lee, navajo scholar here at u&m. >> and in the audience. >> maybe we will ask him to explain himself. [laughter] >> i will give you a hint of what i'm talking about and i really want you to think -- thank you for coming.
what any native nation would look like. in the sense of where we been in terms of the history and were at this point in time. they took part of the and modified it a bit. it's an article that was published in the quarterly back in 2006. that version is very modified. i still have it. anything in terms of publication. i talk to people about my ideas. if you ask native people the discussions about what it really means for us simply
taking place right now. with all of the allies there's in terms of them wanting to protect not only the water with the people and the way of life. it's going much faster than a lot of us are envisioning. in some ways you can see it. i think you're right. because of the amount of those people. and getting educated. with our way of life and our language definitely taking place in accelerating. i think very soon in many
places we are starting to see it. >> widely was probably my primary mentor in the native studies program. i'm here today largely because of floyd. i just wanted to acknowledge that. will, take you all so much for taking part. it was a very edifying conversation. just continuing to re- educate people about our true history and where we are now. if you could please show your gratitude. i'm sure they'll they would be happy to sign your books. thank you again for coming out. have a great weekend everyone.
book tv is on twitter and facebook and we want to hear from you. tweet us twitter.com or post a comment on her facebook page. facebook.com/book tv. [inaudible] good morning. we have proven once again if you want a nice crowd serve some food. but we do have a great crowd here today. thank you very much everyone.
on behalf of all of us here and now rich lowry if i forgot anyone you will let me know later. i would like to welcome you to the special conversation about an important book in an important new book. a torch kept lit. great lives of the 20th century. my name is jack fowler. we will applaud the national review. the institute is our sister organization a nonprofit educational entity founded 25 years ago its mission is to
advance the principles and complement the mission of the magazine. support national reviews of baptist talent and preserve and promote the buckley legacy. indeed the institute has formally launched its legacy project and there is literature here explaining its plans and vision. in this last year the institute through this project has celebrated the anniversaries of two important and lasting legacies. in the 1966 launch of the interview program firing line. the legacy is why we are here today to discuss bill the writer and specifically bill the observer.
before i introduce our participants a related antidote. he is here today into him national review owes so much that will be $10. have a terrific idea let's had them publish a collection we collected them all consulted priscilla buckley who agreed terrific idea. already we approached bill. he couldn't say no fast enough. for a long time after and i remained perplexed the idea
was a surefire success why, because we believed then as we believe now and as we see now through this marvelous book james rosen has edited that among among his many talents this one where he were mentored the recent dead for posterity with deep insight and elegant prose would be embraced not only by national review readers but by the public at large. bill was no dope. he knew what we knew. we deduced that he was hoarding his rip's for his own collection and indeed he did sprinkle some in ensuing books including near my god, miles gone by an buckley the buckley the right word. but, there are so many of these gems that the thought of
unnecessary a necessary collection remained valid over the years. along comes 2014 and along comes rosen. through conversation about another idea james raised this. i would like to do a collection of his eulogies obituaries and rip's what you think. it was like asking me if i wanted a bag of peanut m&ms. i was probably all thanks to that. we were off to the races. they also agreed. and here now we have this wonderful book. i have not had this conversation with campbell but i can't help but think he knows what we all know that although he left his eight years ago.
but he in many ways still looms very large. they asked where had you gone joe dimaggio likewise a conservative american ask the same about bill. the appetite for his wisdom remains very strong. coming up next is the conversation about bill buckley the man who wrote history person by person through his particular talent. it is not a conversation about politics the elections or the often dismaying game of if he was alive today what would he say about blank. at the end of the conversation questions will be entertained. you will find cards on the table feel free to write down your question we will collect the cards and hint them to the moderator. who will pick and choose.
he is my friend and colleague the very big brain. he is executive editor of national review. in a policy fellow of the national review institute. he is the co-author of brand-new party. and he has a book coming out in early 2017 on immigration. i look for to the conversation about that book next year. another friend a good one a dear one and we are so pleased to head him with us this morning is christopher buckley. his approval of this project and his ensuing encouragement of a torch kept lit are so genuine and deeply appreciate it. the only son was educated at portsmouth abbey and graduated
from yale. the former managing editor of esquire magazine and was the founding editor of forbes fyi. he knows a thing or two about books having written 16 or so many of them exceptional satires i must really encourage you to read his most recent. it is a marvelous novel. if you laugh you will need to go to confession. and a personal aside i went to bed alone leslie because my wife was up to the wee hours reading and lasting at a 22-year-old buffalo novel. around us he was chief speechwriter to the president
george hw bush. last but not least a new friend in a man who inspired this book into is as big of continued her to it beautiful prose as was bill buckley and james rosen. the chief washington correspondent james has covered the white house and the state department and reported from in reported from capitol hill the pentagon, the supreme court, nearly all 57 states -- i mean 50. and 44 in countries countries across five continents. they have appeared in the new york times, wall street journal and the washington post harbors in national review. this is not his first book. it's the author of the strongman and also cheney
one-on-one. friends of bill and not only the 12 step a kind should know that this man is a walking, talking legacy products. the knowledge about bill and his belief in the lasting importance and relevance and how we need to realize that immense power for good resides in the legacy is second to none. it has been a delight to work with him i congratulate james not only for the excellent book he assembled but also for his own smart prose providing the context in which all of them. on that note ladies and gentlemen.
>> think you very thank you very much for that kind introduction. i am enormously honored to be here with two of the best writers and thinkers. you can but it's true. i wanted to ask you what on earth led a perfectly healthy theme to person to become so assessed. first of all my thanks to everyone who is coming this morning. into all of my friends at the national review. into christopher i have to tell you to have my name on the same jacket as bill buckley is kind of surreal for me. it is not just false humility
so i learned about bill buckley for the first time from the tonight show seen see with johnny carson and here was this guy who have this the strange accent but was very good-looking and kind of us seem to be treating him as an equal. and they were just very grateful to be there. i remember on that occasion and i'm trying to find a date with that. i think it was around 1985. johnny said to him why is it when whenever you come here on the set i feel like i'm in the principal's office. i want to be like that guy. this is my lovely wife sarah. the suffering heroine in all of my travels. she have seen that i have many obsessions and i am intense
about them. i know some people who have said the same thing. i want to be like that guy. this book began a few years ago i was writing something for national review about richard nixon and i was trying to find a particular piece that bill had done a route about him. i remember the headline. i thought it have appeared in national review. it was published in 2002. when bill was alive. it was just a collection of a listing of all of his works. i learned it had been in the times magazine. they said someday someone should do a volume of his eulogies because they are elegant. i thought why not me. i am grateful to be associated
with it. >> i was ask to give a blurb at the risk and the height of sanity to quote one his own blurb. it's such a good blurb i can't resist. he was a master of many things. this collection of obituaries and eulogies that he wrote over the course of his career curated and introduced by james rosen may will establish him as a modern the modern master of this literary form. i've read every single one of my father's 60 odd books. i do not exaggerate. this may prove to be his finest book ever. and i mean it.
i have read a lot of these as they came out and i was never i was never failed to be moved. but it wasn't until i saw them that it came to me that i think it is the most beautiful writing. i think you started and you called for me call from 250 obituaries and eulogies published in national review but also elsewhere including
and we have here with us the wife of one of the people and how glad i am to see her. it is an extraordinary collection. it is often a very good start not only because it is such a good book and by the way your introductions to each one of the 52 pieces are many masterpieces. you may know this guy mostly but let me tell you. the son of a gun can write.
in part because of of him being a very household name the book is off to a brilliant start. bill o'reilly gave it a very nice plug a couple of days ago. i actually don't do a lot. i went to amazon to check the sales ranking. i thought it was legit -- legit to check that. and he became a tad aloof. i don't spend a lot of time look at my amazon sales rating. he said to me i checked it's
number one. >> he mentioned a moment ago that you called these from a very rich source. tell us a bit about how you disciplined yourself and how you made your selection. >> everybody needs an editor. and they were great in helping me focus so we found about 220 eulogies in remembrances that bill wrote. we have a whole section in the book that unfortunately for space reasons are just devoted to movement conservatives. we cast them into their where they went into some of the other chapters that remained. what we wanted to do was to
break it down by types of people he was remembering. there is a section for his own family members. there is eulogies for his mother, his father his wife in his brother-in-law there is a section for arts and letter figures. it's the only place in the world where you will find him rubbing elbows with jerry garcia. it speaks about his intellectual curiosity. actually wrote that there. not all of them are household names. the really only known to the buckley family. one of the things about this book is friendship.
i don't think he would have copped to the term genius. he would've been recoiled from the term genius. there is only one expert on this stage. everyone that i've spoken to the new him while he was very passionate about his friends and he maintained friendships. in some cases over 60 years time. but the last one he wrote or published was for his friend by the time that they died within a short time of each other. for 60 years. i daresay that the giving of this book to a friend for whatever occasion will deepen
one's friendship. this is my favorite section they are with people who pre- deceived him. he done battle over the extraordinary course. as you can see there is a spectrum of all from this and the fun in this chapter is watching bill struggle to find something kind to say about these people or not bothering them. and one last word about this. these are pieces that were written on deadlines. the writers themselves because he knew 33 of the 52 people was himself often wracked with grief. he was himself morning and these these people in many cases.
he put together such a brilliant lyrical prose by the people he knew when he was himself suffering from grief at their loss. it speaks a lot to his discipline. he was a man of a devout to faith as faith as we all know. and as a eulogy which i believe is technically not a part of the catholic mass. it gets passed down. conservatives believe an objective truth. one of them is that people die but god endures. i indoors. i think that infused these writings as well. >> as a writer, for both of you i do want to hear your perspective.
they were also architect. as such in a it occurs to me that sometimes one might be political and how one is ascribing other figures and how it's navigating the larger landscape. just curious to hear your thoughts. as james was talking it occurred that i was sorry for that. i would like to have read that obituary. i don't think so. ..
time and when he had friends over for dinner afterwards he would scream the famous debate in 1968. in the documentary they used a clip of the movie sunset boulevard where gloria norman, gloria swanson sitting there watching the movie, one old queen measured against another. to the point of the friendship even as you point out in your brilliant deduction, even in these dozen categories you can see struggling to find something nice to say, this came deep
sense of christianity which so animated him. >> if i could jump in on the point whether people punches, these remembrances aren't strictly celebratory. even the case of lionized figures and people who are iconic in the conservative movement committed eulogy for winston churchill whom buckley had gone to see speak personally in 1949 is not hagiographic for winston churchill, he celebrates the accomplishments of churchill up through the victory of world war ii but faults churchill for continuing to stay in office when he didn't have the stamina to prosecute the cold war properly with the ensuing result that one third of the world's people at the time wound up behind the iron curtain. similarly for martin luther king
who in today's landscape we conceive of in god the terms, when bill buckley wrote his remembrance of martin luther king in april 1968 after the assassination buckley wrote a column that was tough on martin luther king, celebratory of his accomplishments in civil rights but at the same time condemnatory of and statements martin luther king had made about america at the height of the vietnam war and its role in the world that he thought were utterly inappropriate so he didn't always pull his punches even when he was discussing people lionized on the right and that speaks to his intellectual integrity. >> with the a contrarian, the sense that some figures had become too big, too overlarge, celebrated inappropriately or was it purely the sense of getting the record right? >> it is collateral. one of the themes within this
book under the general rubric of the gift of friendship was his relationship with the leading liberal intellectual of our time, john kenneth galbraith is dated to 1966. in an elevator, on their way to truman capote's famous black and white ball. >> the party of the century. >> brilliant introduction. >> i cannot say this enough. if you read this book for one reason read it for the introduction. >> you have gone too far. >> i don't think they would have
agreed on the time of day but this became one of his deepest friendships, in his 90s, he had been bedridden for years, every three weeks he would get on the train and go to boston and sit by and at a certain point, conversational. the last trip i made with puck was to john kenneth galbraith's memorial service and his relationship was mutually teasing on a grand level. when nixon resigned, nixon's resignation was inconvenient, he was going sailing, made it
american -- and you don't understand how i relax i write columns about peanut butter. when you relax you write economic textbooks. may i say one more time, brilliant introduction, you quote john kerry in the context of the friendship with john kenneth galbraith, and john kerry, no conservatives, love bill buckley, and that is what is missing in politics today and it is. >> you mention in passing the breadth of bill buckley's interest including his interest in pop culture, something that
would be surprising as a traditionalist. tell us about his encounters with the world of pop. >> bill buckley wrote a column in 1964 after the beatles arrived in america and played the sullivan show pronouncing them not just awful but god-awful and saying in essence they were so horribly anti-musical they would go down in history with respect to music the way the anti-popes were reported. to this day i am a huge beatles freak my two sons are lenin and mccarthy and this is evidence -- >> if you have a girl please don't name her yoko. >> deal. there are collections of writings about the beatles and that buckley column is routinely included in them as a jewel of
early have seen -- philistines. one of the most spectacular reversals of his career for which probably 99% of the credit is due to christopher. in a column in 1968, how i came to rock in which he acknowledged there is simply an exuberance of the beatles that is unmatched and one cannot resist and when we come to later in the discussion, how you converted bill buckley, in writing the first column where he pronounced them god-awful he said i like elvis pressley and in fact later in his career buckley pronounced that elvis had the most beautiful singing voice of any person on earth. there is an intent by buckley to engage with the counterculture and an earnest one. he wanted to know what it was about. in the eulogy for jerry garcia he recounts there was a young
man who worked for "national review" who was an out and out dead head. here is where i will slip in the impersonation which i vowed not to. i lied. if i ever heard a song played by the grateful dead, not bad, right? but he saw the deterioration in this young man, not only has a great but his real ability, and the influence of jerry garcia on legions of young people
>> timeout. c-span timeout. i am a news guy, that is what i do for a living. just got news, yoko ono visited the offices of "national review". that is worth the price of admission alone. >> i guess a footnote, 21/2, lennon was fascinated, i like many of my generation went into an actual depression. this was a staggering event, pop noticed, at the dinner table, had to write a column in my
garage, why don't you write my column? and i said i couldn't do that. i couldn't do it. if you -- what i wrote was splendid, but it concludes, what i realized is john lennon had gravitas, and gravitas was greatly esteemed. here we have the evolution, of william f buckley from the -- to 1980. >> i want to include this to the
john lennon eulogy, in 1970 john lennon gave a massively long interview to rolling stone magazine, the point it was at its most bitter and it is a landmark in terms of literature of the beatles, very negative, called them the biggest pastor don earth, live acid comments about paul and everything else, bill buckley read the entire interview start to finish and it was 50,000 words over issues of rolling stone magazine and john lennon's autobiography, how i wreck my life, and talks about solipsism of john lennon. if john lennon had lived to the right age he would have looked
back with regret on a lot of comments in the 1970 interview but in writing about the interview in a column a number one and number 2. the way buckley put it, something to the effect of john wrote all the good songs, not so for paul and went on to a number of points and what struck me about it is even bill buckley fell prey to beatlemania in a sense because he was referring to them by their first names the way the rest of the world does. >> i don't think there is any record of buck entering the word ringo. here is a scholarly project. be change i want to get to questions from the audience.
any questions for christopher? can you tell us how brilliant i am? be change mention how brilliant you are. >> only met once before today 10 or 12 years ago. i should point out, after providing a sense the project may go forward did he seek any input or control until the very end. there was one eulogy we looked at for space reasons, and we did so. note attempted control, well regarded biographies and she wrote her own memoir and it was a lesson to aspiring biographers and the title is complete with
an exclamation point shoot the widow as the first piece of business any inspiring biographer would do when undertaking their first bit of work, shoot the widow. they seek to control the narrative and he engaged in none of that. this is my first meeting with christopher which is a great thrill for me. the fan boy questions i have not shared in advance but let me take this out. first of all, bill's handwriting was terrible, handwriting was so bad that at yale in the late 1930s he sought and was given permission to type his exams. remember the blue exam book the
mention of which still makes me break out said yes, for god's a, so he would go into an adjoining classroom when everyone else was scribbling and bank out his exams. is orthographical the word? toward the end, became very casual in his placement of his fingers on the keyboard. he would put them down anywhere and start touching with the result that his emails resembled the enigma code. it is fun to put together a collection of those. that would be a challenge for
your brilliant introduction. quite literally, dear krista would be x and i would have to call him up. i want to know what you have in mind here. >> i exchanged emails with bill a few times and they truly were, they looked like of those jumbled you are supposed to unscramble. at the bottom he said ps, i am not drunk, i just type this way. i cherish that email. did he ever once explicitly give you any advice about the craft of writing. >> oh, sure. his first hit of advice i was
14, he said don't ever become a professional writer. it was a saturday and dinner was over and he is heading back to bank out a 10,000 word article through monday. i did not take that advice. it occurs to me another theme with buck aside from that genius and friendship, for mentor meeting and i think it is accurate to say two great magazine editor mentors of our time, charlie peters of the washington -- whose list of
alumni, james fallows, and william f buckley. if you look at the list of people started at "national review," david brooks, did you know david brooks story, he told it in a column after buck died called remembering mentor, buck in 1983 wrote a book called overdrive, which was a sequel, if you will, to one of his best books, cruising speed, which he published in 1973 which is a week in his busy life. a marvelous way, but never did a memoir but he did two memoirs of two weeks of his life. overdrive, 1983, was not
particularly well-received. there was too much about his limousine and famous people he knew and a scathing but brilliant parity was written by david brooks for the university of chicago's paper and buck happened the next week to be speaking at the university of chicago and up there on stage, he reads this scathing parody of his book allowed verbatim and then looks up and says if david brooks is in the audience i would like to offer him a job that story. >> i am going to shame david brooks. david brooks is a well regarded
times columnist and author in his own right. i have a friend in washington who collect memorabilia and give them to me and he recently gave me a copy of the hardcover edition called on the firing line which was his memoir of firing line and autographed by bill buckley to david brooks. i don't know how that happened but one last point, grateful to have with us today, and he too -- [applause] and wrap up too. >> one of which is a practical question. it is often the case the writing of obituaries many obituaries
will be prewritten, and is that something bill buckley would do. the obituary of white eisenhower, and a few places, a digital archive about these pieces, the hoover institution, the firing line archive in california and relied on their synopses of various episodes, and on its website the complete works of william f buckley junior, and you can see typed manuscript that went to newspapers and instructions for eisenhower where it says if eisenhower -- if he has died
please correct where he is speaking in a different tens. for alastair cook, a great towering literary figure and brought just figure and friend of buckley's for 30 years, he wrote three eulogies and obituaries and one of them he wrote before cook died, and opened and unread. >> one more question. is there one obituary you hate your editors at crown for doing? >> hate is a strong word. there are so many worthy people we had my prepared introductions like daniel patrick moynihan. william sloane coffin, the correspondence between bill buckley and william sloane
coffin, claire booth lutes, hubert humphrey. >> i must interject, if enough of you go out and buy this book, you increase the chances of there being a sequel. all the obituaries and eulogies, not have room to include. >> torch flickering but not quite dead. >> please join me in thanking james rosen and christopher buckley. [applause] >> i am lindsay craig, "national review" institute, so grateful to all of you for your support. so we can being programming like this and thank you for writing this book, christopher, we love having you come to participate
in them. and another great moderating job, have a great weekend. >> on booktv's in depth coasting at discussion of the 1941 attack on pearl harbor on the eve of the 75th anniversary. on the program the author of countdown to pearl harbor, and the author of japan 1941, countdown to infamy and craig nelson with his book pearl harbor, from infamy to greatness. followed by an interview with donald stratton, pearl harbor survivor and co-author of all the gallant men, an american sailor's firsthand account of pearl harbor, taking a phone call, sweets and email questions. go to booktv.org for the complete weekend schedule. >> here is a look at the staff picks from harvard bookstore,