Friday, September 25, 2009

Terry Golway's WORDS THAT RING THROUGH TIME Features 50 Great Speeches that Changed History

Carter Jefferson reviews Words That Ring Through Time: The Fifty Most Important Speeches in History and How They Changed Our World By Terry Golway on the Internet Review of Books: "You’ve probably heard of William Jennings Bryan’s "Cross of Gold" oration, but have you ever read the entire speech? Do you know what prompted Bryan to hold forth, and what resulted from his effort? And surely you’ve heard someone speak of the U. S. as a "City Upon a Hill," a model for the rest of the world. But do you know who said that, and why he did? And then there are speeches few of us have ever heard of that may have changed history. On the eve of England’s battle with the Spanish Armada, Queen Elizabeth I said she had "but the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart of a king . . . ." She did, and the English won that fight. In 1873, Susan B. Anthony set a goal for women for which they still strive, but most people don’t know that women were not the only ones she fought for: "[E]very discrimination against women in the constitutions and laws of the several states is today null and void, precisely as is every one against Negroes." This book includes fifty-one speeches ranging from Moses’ farewell to the Israelites to Obama’s keynote address at the Democratic convention of 2004, and provides a two- or three-page introduction explaining the circumstances in which each was given. A fine reference book, it’s also worth dipping into for just a few minutes now and then to learn a little history most people don’t know about.

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