Catch the Burning Flag: Speeches and Random Observations

By Henry J. Hyde with a Foreword by Robert Novak

A giant in stature and influence, the late Henry Hyde’s defense of freedom, justice, and the sanctity of innocent human life left a powerful legacy on Capitol Hill and around the world.  Catch the Burning Flag: Speeches and Random Observations is a handsome hardcover collection that captures the most important thoughts and deepest reflections by the great conservative, renowned for decades as the House of Representative’s most persuasive orator. A must for your library, Catch the Burning Flag includes Hyde’s most powerful speeches (with his own insightful commentary) on a range of topics, from the Clinton impeachment trials, term limits, and abortion to flag burning, the Iran-Contra affair, and the fate of Democracy.

From the Foreword:

“These speeches reflect a rare combination of eloquence and erudition, and something more. In an age of increasing specialization on Capitol Hill, Henry Hyde was the Renaissance man there. Readers of this book must be impressed by the breadth and variety of his expertise. Considering the liberal assault on Hyde as a Catholic extremist who keeps poor women from abortions and persecuted Bill Clinton, the tone here may come as a surprise to some. These selections are free of Republican partisanship and remarkably non-ideological.

A collected book of speeches is rare in 21st Century American politics because hardly any members of today’s political class have anything to say that is worth putting between hard covers. It is painful even to contemplate reading the pabulum passing for oratory–tired rhetoric distilled from partisan talking points. I cannot think of more than two or three sitting members of Congress who conceivably would publish a collection of their speeches that anyone other than members of their immediate families would want to read.

Hyde delivered two of the rare speeches in the contemporary House that were recalled beyond the moment of their presentation: one in behalf of a constitutional amendment against flag burning, and the other against term limits. In each, he was able to take two unpopular causes derided by the liberal establishment (the news media in particular) and elevate them with the combination of eloquence and scholarship that has marked his Congressional oratory.”–Robert Novak

Henry J. Hyde (1924-2007) served as a Republican Congressman from the Illinois 6th District from 1975 to 2007, following service in the state legislature from 1986 to 1974. Considered to be the most persuasive speaker on Capitol Hill, he was chairman of the House Judiciary and International Relations Committees. The Chicago native graduated from Georgetown University and Loyola University School of Law, served in the United States Navy from 1944 to 1946, and the United States Naval Reserve until 1968.

What They Are Saying:

“Henry Hyde’s luminous career demonstrated that strong convictions, strongly fought for, need not be impediments to bipartisan respect and affection. Readers of this volume will be delighted by the power of a much-loved man’s public life. Their delight will be dampened only by the melancholy realization of how rare such men are.”–George F. Will, Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist

“For more than three decades, Henry Hyde was one of the most respected Members of Congress. No wonder that this collection of his speeches and essays is wise and inspiring, poignant and funny, candid and insightful–sometimes all at the same time. Hyde recently received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our nation’s highest civilian honor. This book shows how richly he deserved it.”–Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight, Knights of Columbus