From Publishers Weekly
The third edition of this comprehensive collection of oratory through the ages is appropriately edited by
former presidential speechwriter Safirea 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 Pericless 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, historys 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 Pasteurs paean to scientific education, the Dalai Lamas sermon on the
"Philosophy of Compassion" and Salman Rushdies 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.
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“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.”
- William F. Buckley, Jr.
“This is the most valuable kind of book, the kind that benefits mind and heart.... My fellow Americans, Safire is a
- Peggy Noonan
“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.”
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