Give Me Liberty: Speakers and Speeches that Have Shaped America by Christopher L. Webber, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Give Me Liberty: Speakers and Speeches that Have Shaped America

Give Me Liberty: Speakers and Speeches that Have Shaped America

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by Christopher L. Webber
     
 

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Sure to become a classic of American oratorical history, ?Give Me Liberty reveals the enduring power of America's quest for a freer and more just society.  ?

"Give me liberty," demanded Patrick Henry, "or give me death!" Henry's words continue to echo in American history and that quote, and the speech it comes from, remains one of the two or three

Overview

Sure to become a classic of American oratorical history, ?Give Me Liberty reveals the enduring power of America's quest for a freer and more just society.  ?

"Give me liberty," demanded Patrick Henry, "or give me death!" Henry's words continue to echo in American history and that quote, and the speech it comes from, remains one of the two or three known to almost every American. The other speeches that have become part of our American collective consciousness all have one theme in common: liberty. These feats of oration seem to trace the evolution of America's definition of liberty, and to whom it applies. But what exactly is liberty?

Webber's insightful Give Me Liberty looks at these great speeches and provides the historical context, focusing attention on particular individuals who summed up the issues of their own day in words that have never been forgotten. Webber gleans lessons from the past centuries that will allow us to continue to strive for the ideals of liberty in the twenty-first century.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/01/2014
“There are only a few speeches Americans remember,” declares Episcopal priest Webber (American to the Backbone), “and all of them have to do with liberty.” Webber provides extensive commentary on 14 liberty-heavy speeches by notable Americans, beginning with Patrick Henry’s famed 1774 “Give me liberty or give me death.” The book is organized chronologically,and includes many well-known orations: Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address; William Jennings Bryan’s 1896 Cross of Gold speech, “the most famous speech in the history of American political conventions”; and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “The only thing we have to fear” 1933 inaugural address as well as his Infamy Speech following the attack on Pearl Harbor; and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1963 “I Have a Dream.” Webber includes lesser-known speakers, such as the abolitionists James W.C. Pennington and Wendell Phillips, and the suffragists Angelina Grimke and Abby Kelley Foster. In the connective material, Webber provides instructive biographical information and to-the-point historical context. His spirited book never strays far from the theme of the nation’s “constant struggle to preserve and expand the freedom of its citizens while maintaining the delicate balance between too much government and too little.” (Nov.)
The Wall Street Journal

Praise for American to the BackboneA luminous portrait. Mr. Webber's vivid account resurrects this astonishing figure, conveying all that he endured and achieved during America's longest, most harrowing trial.

Booklist
“Pennington’s story is a remarkable one, illuminated by Webber’s meticulous research.”
Praise for American to the Backbone - The Wall Street Journal
“A luminous portrait. Mr. Webber’s vivid account resurrects this astonishing figure, conveying all that he endured and achieved during America’s longest, most harrowing trial.”
Sam Waterston
“A terrific book. Christopher Webber's book is a wonderfully clear series of profiles of American women and men, who changed what we mean by liberty. I've read some history, but the book told me all sorts of things I didn't know I didn't know. Full of stimulation, it makes the reader wonder at the marvelous and uncertain coincidence of people, words, and the moment, that it takes to make things happen. What if Henry, and Lincoln, and Stanton, and Webster, and Pennington, had been absent, when their presence changed the course of things? Good history, good reading.”
American Way
“A thought-provoking foreword and intelligent epilogue bookend this examination of the stirring power of the spoken word.”
The Oklahoman
“A perceptive analysis of speeches by noted men and women.”
Kirkus Reviews
2014-09-11
Episcopal priest Webber (American to the Backbone: The Life of James W.C. Pennington, the Fugitive Slave Who Became One of the First Black Abolitionists, 2011) traces America's search for personal freedom through the men and women whose voices still demand our attention. The author follows some of our best orators, from Patrick Henry and Daniel Webster to Martin Luther King Jr. and Ronald Reagan, and he successfully shows how differently and yet how alike this struggle has been over the years. While Henry sought freedom from central government, Webster was committed to the same; they both sought personal freedom and feared too much power in any one place. The book gets a bit dry as the author moves into the abolitionists and suffragists. They fought to end slavery and create a free life for African-Americans and rallied against the death penalty and child labor along the way. The women who worked with them saw their own lack of freedom and fought for the vote and the right to own property, giving birth to the suffragist cause. The most interesting part of the book is the way Webber traces the seeds of ideas, the sources and connections as they are repeated through the years. Abraham Lincoln asked the same questions as Webster about preserving the Union, and he paraphrased Webster's words in the ending of the Gettysburg Address: "of the people, by the people…." Adlai Stevenson used Lincoln's "house divided" in a Cold War-era speech. Ronald Reagan's trickle-down theory came straight from William Jennings Bryan. All these men and women spoke of freedom as a goal for all, and each dealt with the economic factors that controlled freedom: poverty, taxes and inequality. Mostly engaging, and Webber saves the best for last: Martin Luther King Jr.'s words and cadences moved an entire nation, and he, like the other orators, used his voice for the millions who had none.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781605987125
Publisher:
Pegasus
Publication date:
10/08/2014
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
878,338
File size:
4 MB

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Meet the Author

Christopher L. Webber is the author of more than two dozen books, including ​American to the Backbone: The Life of James W. C. Pennington, The Fugitive Slave Who Became One of the First Black Abolitionists and Beyond Beowulf. A graduate of Princeton University and a priest of the Episcopal Church, Webber has served parishes in New York and Connecticut. Webber lives with his wife in northwestern Connecticut.

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