Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History

William Safire, Editor W. W. Norton & Company $39.95 (1168p) ISBN 978-0-393-05931-1
The third edition of this comprehensive collection of oratory through the ages is appropriately edited by former presidential speechwriter Safire--a man who knows firsthand the importance of putting together the right words for the right moment. But many readers will no doubt skip his prefatory lesson in rhetoric and go right to the speeches themselves. The selections range widely through Western history, from Pericles's funeral oration to fallen Greek soldiers in the Peloponnesian War, to Tony Blair""exhorting his party to fight terrorism."" History has yet to pass judgment on the greatness of the most recent speeches included here, but Safire shows a broad-minded, bipartisan inclusiveness in collecting the words of Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, history's losers (Sen. Robert Taft opposing war crimes trials after WWII) as well as its victors. And several of the speeches he includes deal with politics only indirectly: such as Louis Pasteur's paean to scientific education, the Dalai Lama's sermon on the""Philosophy of Compassion"" and Salman Rushdie's description of a life""Trapped inside a Metaphor."" This is an invaluable reference for writers and speakers, students of history and those who simply appreciate great oratory.
Reviewed on: 10/01/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Hardcover - 957 pages - 978-0-393-03368-7
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