Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History

Overview

The definitive compendium of classic and modern oratory expanded—with a new preface on what makes a speech "great."
An instant classic when it was first published a decade ago and now enriched by seventeen new speeches, Lend Me Your Ears contains more than two hundred outstanding moments of oratory. It is selected, arranged, and introduced by William Safire, who honed his skills as a presidential speechwriter. He is considered by many to be America's most influential political ...

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Overview

The definitive compendium of classic and modern oratory expanded—with a new preface on what makes a speech "great."
An instant classic when it was first published a decade ago and now enriched by seventeen new speeches, Lend Me Your Ears contains more than two hundred outstanding moments of oratory. It is selected, arranged, and introduced by William Safire, who honed his skills as a presidential speechwriter. He is considered by many to be America's most influential political columnist and most elegant explicator of our language. Covering speeches from Demosthenes to George W. Bush, this latest edition includes the words of Cromwell to the "Rump Parliament," Orson Welles eulogizing Darryl F. Zanuck, General George Patton exhorting his troops before D-Day, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaking on Bush v. Gore. A new section incorporates speeches that were never delivered: what Kennedy was scheduled to say in Dallas; what Safire wrote for Nixon if the first moon landing met with disaster; and what Clinton originally planned to say after his grand jury testimony but swapped for a much fiercer speech.

One of the more widely read writers about the English language has amassed a personalized compilation of the world's greatest speeches throughout the ages. Here are more than 200 addresses by figures from Demosthenes to Salman Rushdie that have moved millions--and changed history. Safire gives an introduction to each speech and provides historical background and oratorical tactics.

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Editorial Reviews

William F. Buckley
“Bill Safire's collection of galvanizing speeches ancient and modern is wonderfully done, the taste in the selection eclectic, discriminating, piquant, and enchantingly introduced. Makes for wonderful reading.”
Peggy Noonan
“This is the most valuable kind of book, the kind that benefits mind and heart.... My fellow Americans, Safire is a gem.”
David Brinkley
“A wonderful book.”
Booklist
“To teach and to please, some Greek once advised, is the function of great rhetoric, and Safire has put together [a] volume that embod[ies] those functions and their power.”
Library Journal
This new edition of Safire's book, originally published in 1992, retains all the speeches in the first edition and adds 20 new ones, such as Pope Urban II launching the crusades, Bob Dole remembering Richard Nixon, and Colin Powell on racial hatred. Safire's criteria are subjectivea speech is included if he thinks "it's great"and the tone of his unhelpful introduction is one of strained cuteness. Most collections of speeches focus narrowly on particular subjects such as American or classical speeches, with few attempting, like Safire's, to cover all times and places. In fact, The Guide to Reference Books lists only one: Brewer's ten-volume World's Best Orations, published in 1901. Not surprisingly, there is virtually no overlap between Brewer's 350 and Safire's 220 selections. Safire's book is not really necessary for libraries owning the first edition, but it is a good addition for those lacking Brewer's or in need of modern speeches. With an excellent index.Peter A. Dollard, Alma Coll. Lib., Mich.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393059311
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/17/2004
  • Edition description: Updated and Expanded Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 1168
  • Sales rank: 144,744
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 2.20 (d)

Meet the Author

William Safire, a Pulitzer Prize winner, is the most widely read writer on words. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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