- Hardcover: 1200 pages
- Publisher: WW Norton; Updated and Expanded ed. edition (Oct. 5 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393059316
- ISBN-13: 978-0393059311
- Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 5.3 x 24.4 cm
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 Kg
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #53,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches In History Hardcover – Oct 5 2004
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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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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 gem. — 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. — Booklist
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What Safire does with this list is to quote generally agreed upon memorable speeches and list them by category, speeches of patriotism, revolution and war, tributes and elegies, debates, trials, gallows and farewell, sermons, inspirational, lectures, social responsibility, finally closing with speeches of media, politics, and commencement. Each category has some dozen examples, with a prefatory explanatory essay per. Some speeches have the added advantage of having been popularized in the media by recording or rehearsed performance. I can still hear Marlon Brando as Mark Antony in 'Julius Caesar' rousing the crowd to a killing frenzy: 'If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.' Shakespeare used every one of Safire's requirements. Getting Brando to say them was just a bonus. Who can forget Chief Joseph's closing words of the agony he felt over the destruction of his people by the white man: 'From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.' Then there is FDR's war declaration against Japan, replete with its sonorous cadences that begin with the critical phrase, 'day of infamy.'
Great speeches are often not great until after the fact. Lincoln felt that his speech at Gettysburg was a failure since it met only polite applause. Others generate the unmistakable cachet of greatness right away. Reading LEND ME YOUR EARS will not make you a great speaker, but it can give clues as to how and why the power of the spoken word can shake societies to their core.
This is my absolute favorite speeches collection. William Safire, the man who penned "nattering nabobs of negativism," draws from the ages to illustrate the power of human eloquence
Our age is dominated by speeches that will never qualify for inclusion. This former speechwriter, current columnist and guardian of our language, selected, arranged and introduced 220 examples of history's finest oratory. Arranged by theme and occasion, each speech is introduced by the editor, given historical perspective and analyzed for techniques that gave it force and staying-power.
This is the most valuable kind of book. Since I purchased it 20 years ago, I have spent hours savoring its content. My favorite speech in it remains Jack Kemp's November 30, 1990 salute to Winston Churchill in which he skillfully and eloquently turns into an intense and unequivocal plea for an armed intervention in the Persian Gulf. It remains a superb example of an ideologue whom brings clarity and passion to dais.
No one who faces an audience and attempts to inspire, fortify, entertain, convince or memorialize should be without a copy of this wonderful book.
In particular, each topic and each speech has an introduction by Mr Safire. In his introduction he explains the background of the speech,why this particular speech is important, and what makes this speech, in his view, so good. For the most part, the book is very well done.
I liked his comments and actually have adopted some of his suggestions for my own speeches. (I am an attorney. I would warn the casual speaker that nothing is worse then read the "best speeches of all time" right before your own presentaton. I made that mistake, once.)
Why not five stars? I thought he could have made some better selections. In particular, he focused heavily on modern America and our politiicans. I am sure, based on his audience, this was/is a smart move. By doing so, however, he deleted some speeches that had more impact, more relevence, and more interest to this reader. Still, this is a minor critic. It is a good book, just not a five star one.
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