Whatever his policies and actions, President Obama is widely regarded as a powerful speaker. Berry and Gottheimer offer a collection of 18 of Obama’s most important speeches, illustrating his ascent as a politician and subtle changes in style and consistency of message—one of unity, responsibility, and change. The editors include historical context for changes in style, delivery, use of speechwriters, and media for presidential speeches since George Washington and how Obama fits into the tradition. The collection begins with Obama’s speech against the war in Iraq in 2002 when he was still a state senator; it also includes his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention that launched him into the national spotlight; his presidential campaign announcement in Springfield, Illinois, in 2007; his speech on race in Philadelphia; and concludes with his election night speech in Grant Park in Chicago. The editors precede each speech with commentary from speechwriters, journalists, and political analysts on the behind-the-scenes context for the speech and how it illustrates Obama’s development as a candidate. A revealing look at the power of words. --Vanessa Bush
“Berry and Gottheimer bring their own depth of insight to an analysis of each of the speeches and the vision they embody. . . . A book to savor and return to for subsequent readings.”—Kirkus Reviews
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“Considering the number of books written about President Obama, you would think we’ve heard enough. Not to say that I’m the decider of these things but my vote should count for something, and I think that Power in Words dissects the rhetoric of the president in unprecedented ways. A while back I began to see this movement the president is leading as a kind of cultural transformation, and in this book the stories behind the famous addresses come to life.”—Bill Cosby
“In the long sweep of history, readers will be able to refer to this work to better understand and appreciate the power of words of our forty-fourth president of the United States.”—Dana Perino, former White House press secretary
“It was the late Richard Neustadt who famously wrote that ‘presidential power is the power to persuade.’ This rich and thoughtful collection of the stories behind the speeches that launched Barack Obama to the national stage and eventually the presidency demonstrates how incredible this power can be when placed in the hands of a brilliant and gifted orator. Power in Words highlights President Obama’s ability—and the abilities of his talented speechwriters and advisers—to translate the unspoken desire of the American people for a leader with humility, intelligence, and understanding into a language that all Americans could connect with and believe in.”—John Podesta, former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton and CEO of the Center for American Progress
“Words matter, especially in a time of crisis. Learn how Obama’s words got him elected, and why it matters to all of us, in this engaging look at his rise to the presidency.”—Eric Schmidt, chair/CEO of Google Inc.