Undelivered: The Never-Heard Speeches That Would Have Rewritten History

Undelivered: The Never-Heard Speeches That Would Have Rewritten History

by Jeff Nussbaum
Undelivered: The Never-Heard Speeches That Would Have Rewritten History

Undelivered: The Never-Heard Speeches That Would Have Rewritten History

by Jeff Nussbaum


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A fascinating insight into notable speeches that were never delivered, showing what could have been if history had gone down a different path

For almost every delivered speech, there exists an undelivered opposite. These "second speeches" provide alternative histories of what could have been if not for schedule changes, changes of heart, or momentous turns of events.

In Undelivered, political speechwriter Jeff Nussbaum presents the most notable speeches the public never heard, from Dwight Eisenhower’s apology for a D-Day failure to Richard Nixon’s refusal to resign the presidency, and even Hillary Clinton’s acceptance for a 2016 victory—the latter never seen until now.

Examining the content of these speeches and the context of the historic moments that almost came to be, Nussbaum considers not only what they tell us about the past but also what they can inform us about our present.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250240705
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication date: 05/10/2022
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 151,372
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.40(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Jeff Nussbaum is a senior speechwriter for President Joe Biden. Prior to that, he was a partner at West Wing Writers, the premier strategy and speechwriting shop in Washington, D.C. He led or co-led speechwriting at the last four Democratic conventions. A graduate of Brown University, he lives outside of D.C.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part 1 Words that are Too Hot 15

1 John Lewis on the March on Washington, August 1963: Ensuring That Multiple Speeches Fit the Moment 17

2 Wamsutta Frank James on the 350th Anniversary of the Pilgrims Landing at Plymouth Rock, September 1970: The Five Elements Found in Every Persuasive Speech 39

Part 2 A Change of Mind, a Change of Heart 51

3 Emma Goldman at Her Sentencing, October 1893, and Helen Keller at the Suffrage Parade, March 1913: The Power of Speech to Move People to Action 53

4 President Richard Nixon's Refusal to Resign, August 1974: The Precarious Position of the Speechwriter 71

5 Mayor Kevin White on School Busing, December 1974: The Rhetorical Technique of Litany 87

Part 3 Crisis / Crisis Averted 105

6 Edward VIII's Refusal to Abdicate the Throne, December 1936: Writing for Public Figures About Their Private Lives 107

7 New York City Mayor Abe Beame Declares Bankruptcy, October 1975: The Risks and Rewards of Sherman Statements 127

Part 4 The Fog of War, the Path to Peace 141

8 Dwight Eisenhower's Apology for the Failure of the D-Day Invasion, June 1944: The Language of Leadership 143

9 Emperor Hirohito Apologizes for World War II, 1948: Dog Whistles, Chameleons, and Apologies 153

10 President Kennedy on the Military Operation That Destroyed the Nuclear Weapons Buildup in Cuba, October 1962: The Mysteries of Speech Authorship 173

Part 5 The People Choose 189

11 Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld's Farewell Address Following His Defeat in the 1896 Election, January 1897: The Value of a Soundbite 193

12 Hillary Clinton's 2016 Victory Speech, Why We Venerate the Ritual of Concession 205

Part 6 Events Intervene 227

13 The Remarks Condoleezza Rice Had Intended to Give on the Bush Administration's Foreign Policy September 11, 2001: The Process of Constructing a Speech 231

14 Barry Jenkins's Best Picture Remarks for Moonlight, February 2017: The Power of Story 243

15 Last Words: Pope Pius XI, JFK, FDR, Einstein, and Their Unfinished Prophecies of Peace, Various Years 255

Appendix: Selected Undelivered Speech Texts 273

Wamsutta James Remarks, to Have Been Delivered at Plymouth, Massachusetts, September 1970 273

Boston Mayor Kevin White's Remarks on Busing, to Have Been Delivered as Part of His State of the City Speech, December 1974 277

John F. Kennedy's Remarks Announcing Airstrikes on Cuba, to Have Been Delivered in October 1962 280

John P. Altgeld's Retiring Address as Governor of Illinois, to Have Been Delivered on January 11, 1897 285

Hillary Clinton's Election Night Remarks, to Have Been Delivered on November 8, 2016 288

John F. Kennedy's Remarks at the Dallas Trade Mart, to Have Been Delivered on November 22, 1963 294

Acknowledgments 301

Bibliography 307

Notes 337

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