A Watchman in the Night
What I’ve Seen Over 50 Years Reporting on America
by Cal Thomas
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Pub Date 09 May 2023 | Archive Date 28 Jun 2023
“When Cal Thomas speaks, I try to listen. I’ve been listening to him for a LONG time!" — Mike Huckabee
“For more than 40 years, Cal Thomas had a front row seat to some of America's most contentious public policy debates. And for more than four decades, Cal wielded his pen to speak truth to power and to advance traditional conservative values. Cal's stories and tales from that front row—as the watchman—are sure to entertain!” — Mike Pence
"A new bestselling page-turner." — Washington Examiner
“This is what I have done—and am continuing to do—as I seek to serve God first and then my country.”—Cal Thomas
Cal Thomas—one of the most popular syndicated columnists in the country—is America’s “Watchman” in the night.
In A Watchman in the Night, Cal Thomas takes the reader on a “road trip” through over fifty years of journalism and American life, serving as a “watchman” on culture and politics and seeking to conform it to a standard that never changes.
A watchman “keeps guard over a building at night, to protect it from fire, vandals, or thieves.” Thomas is a believer that certain values and principles never change and has critiqued misbehavior and wrong-headedness by people on “his side” from the start. “If values and Truth mean anything,” Thomas says, “they must be applied equally. Hypocrisy and heresy cannot be ignored no matter the source.” In the book, Thomas does not stigmatize labels, such as “conservative” and “religious,” because Thomas says: “It allows people to define me and others by their perception of those labels. Ask me a question and I will give you my answer.
For over fifty years in journalism, Thomas has offered incisive, humorous and often corrective commentary to our social, political, and religious conversations. An early commitment to addressing publicly what he sees has marked Thomas’ entire career. Cal has always called both parties, both sides of the American political divide, to account, to take the high road and to honor our civic and religious ideals with compatible behavior to the very best of our ability. This increasingly “radical” approach to public life has won him many friends on both sides of the political aisle, hundreds of thousands of faithful readers of his columns, and a continuous barrage of accolades and “hate mail,” much of it charming when it is not too foul to repeat.
Cal came to the Christian faith while a young journalist at a dinner led by Dr. Richard Halverson, Pastor at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, MD, and later, Chaplain of the United States Senate. This experience informed the rest of Cal’s life as he hosted his own private dinners for members of the press and members of Congress from both parties leading to deep friendships with Senator Ted Kennedy and many others, friendships which became a hallmark of Cal’s life despite wide political differences. For over two decades, Cal has hosted the National Prayer Breakfast Media Dinner as a continuation of his commitment to the reality that a relationship with Jesus Christ can change a person’s life and ultimately change a nation, and that things of such import are best discussed over dinner. The book includes tones about faith, but focuses on American social, cultural and political currents.
A Watchman in the Night: What I’ve Seen Over 50 Years Reporting on America is a living history of our times, of who we were then and who we are now and who we might become (for better or worse) in the future, and a remarkable chronicle of modern American life.
Praise for A WATCHMAN IN THE NIGHT: What I’ve Seen Over 50 Years Reporting on America by Cal Thomas
“For more than 40 years, Cal Thomas had a front row seat to some of America's most contentious public policy debates. And for more than four decades, Cal wielded his pen to speak truth to power and to advance traditional conservative values. Cal's stories and tales from that front row—as the watchman—are sure to entertain!” — Vice President Mike Pence
“When Cal Thomas speaks, I try to listen. I’ve been listening to him for a LONG time! His storied career as a network TV journalist led to what has been an almost 40 year run as a must-read syndicated columnist. Cal practiced journalism the old fashioned way—he gathered facts from authoritative sources and let the consumer determine what is “meant.” As a columnist, he added point of view and perspective but never abandoned his addiction to truth above emotion. The result has been that he is the kind of influencer who is willing to even bring objective truth and morality into the discussion. He truly is a “Watchman in the Night.” — Governor Mike Huckabee
"My late brother Rush and I have been frequent readers and fans of Cal's column for many years. He speaks the truth in an age that seems to have forgotten what truth looks like, but he also has friends who are Democrats and liberals, a rarity these days." — David Limbaugh, New York Times bestselling author
"A WATCHMAN IN THE NIGHT captures so much of Cal’s life and times. I recommend it with enthusiasm, even to those of us who are more on the left-hand side than Cal." — Tom Johnson, former president of CNN, publisher of the Los Angeles Times & Dallas Times Herald and White House Fellow and aide to LBJ
“For four decades, Cal Thomas has been a voice of reason, fairness, and open intellectual inquiry, his writing characterized by a genuine fascination with the wonder of the world unfolding around us. Sometimes liberal, sometimes conservative, but always smart, this books makes us long for the days when journalists defined their mission as the unbiased pursuit of truth, not as extensions of one political faction or another. A WATCHMAN IN THE NIGHT is must reading for those of us who love beautiful writing.” — Henry Louis Gates, Jr., host of Finding Your Roots, New York Times bestselling author and Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University
“Cal Thomas has been writing his columns for very nearly as long as I’ve been selling vowels. Like the best political and social commentators, he is intelligent and opinionated. But mean-spirited? Not Cal. He’s perceptive, funny, kind and spiritual. But don’t let those benign descriptive words deceive you; he’s also committed, tough and penetrating. You don’t have to agree with him, but you have to acknowledge that he’s a damn fine writer. I’m amazed by the sheer volume of his work and delighted that he decided to share the stories behind the columns in this fascinating journal.” — Pat Sajak, host of Wheel of Fortune
“I’ve known Cal Thomas for many years and he’s always been an engaging watchman and advocate for American values. Even if you disagree with him you have to admire his gifts as a storyteller and his love for the unvarnished truth.” — Tony Hall, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture and former United States Congressman (Ohio)
“Reporting for the Associated Press in New York City in 1976, I started praying for journalists to apply the Bible to daily news coverage. Cal Thomas became a big answer to those prayers in 1984, as the Lord opened a door for him to write a syndicated column. The Lord opened more and more doors as he wound up on the editorial pages of more than 500 newspapers in the 1990s. Now he has become a good historian, taking us back 40 years to the column launch and walking readers through each year. He has been a watchman on the wall, giving readers wisdom, understanding and prudence in the news of the day and week.” — Russ Pulliam, The Indianapolis Star
"Where our culture gets murky, Cal Thomas shines a bright light that clarifies and inspires. Eloquent, lively, and accurate, Cal Thomas is a journalist for the ages." — Amity Shlaes, New York Times bestselling author of Great Society
“If journalism is the first draft of history, Cal Thomas gives us his second draft with all the wit and trenchant commentary that he has made famous. He has been faithful as America's watchman, but have enough Americans woken up to play their part in the struggle for the nation?” — Os Guinness, bestselling author of Magna Carta of Humanity
"As Cal Thomas’ longtime syndicate editor, I marvel at his work ethic. A consummate professional, he’s never missed a deadline and his columns are always timely and thought-provoking. Though we share very different political views, we meet at our love for Broadway musicals. Who doesn’t need a little “Damn Yankees” on a Monday morning? Cal makes me think, and I believe I’ve done the same for him. There’s light in open debate. We grow when we talk to each other and tell our stories. The adventure continues." — Tracy Clark, Cal Thomas' longtime syndicated editor and author of bestselling "Chicago Mystery" series
"When the first Cal Thomas columns crossed my copy desk, I wondered if his plain speaking commentary could capture a spot on the limited real estate of op-ed pages nationwide. Well, that concern was put to rest fairly soon, as his list of subscribing newspapers soared and "Letters to the Editor" sections flooded with bouquets and brickbats. There was something about the way he could connect with readers, his common-sense take on politics and culture, morality and, as he says, “immutable truths.” He could charm with a tender eulogy for his cat Boo (one of his all-time most popular columns) and take his lumps when a reader sent him an enema tube in the “fan” mail. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed as you join Cal on this journey through the decades. You will learn, you will reflect, and you will get some much-needed clarity on the swirling events of today." — Connie Pollock, former editor Los Angeles Times Syndicate
“In A WATCHMAN IN THE NIGHT Cal Thomas expertly weaves personal experiences, past historical events and present conditions to produce a fascinating, engaging read. The Founding Fathers would heartily approve.” — Cheryl Chumley, Editor at The Washington Times and bestselling author of SOCIALISTS DON’T SLEEP