From Publishers Weekly
Don't know much about American history? This multimedia collection of the great words of American presidents is for you. While this guide covers the entire American presidency, it is understandably weighted heavily toward the last 75 years. The early speeches-Washington's inaugural words, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Woodrow Wilson's WWI speech-are read credibly by actors. But this valuable collection really picks up steam with FDR, when the presidents themselves do the speaking. (Most of the recent presidents, with the exception of Jimmy Carter, have more than one speech included.) There will be those who may wish other speeches were added, but it's hard to quibble with those included: John F. Kennedy's words during the Cuban missile crisis, Lyndon B. Johnson's speech upon assuming the presidency, Ronald Reagan's speech calling on Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. With introductions given for each speech-former Clinton aide Stephanopoulos narrates the CDs-this collection is no less than a primer on U.S. history and the ways issues of government, race and democracy have been viewed during the past 225 years. And there are some surprising moments as well: Richard Nixon's speech to his staff explaining his resignation from the presidency after Watergate shows an emotional side of Nixon rarely seen by the public. 100 b&w illus.
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Here is an excellent combination of print and CD: presidential speeches transcribed in the text and captured live on the accompanying pair of discs. Waldman, formerly director of speechwriting under Bill Clinton, selects what he feels are the 43 most important speeches by American presidents from Washington to Bush and supplies context-setting introductions to each of them. Predictably, the speeches of earlier presidents (Lincoln, Wilson, FDR) stand up better as prose, while the efforts of the post-television heads of state read like strings of sound bites. Listening to the CDs, which are introduced by George Stephanopoulus, showcases the personalities and their speaking styles (every president from Grover Cleveland onward is represented). Younger listeners will respond immediately to the magnetism of FDR and JFK, the oratorical stiffness of Nixon, the straight shooting of Teddy Roosevelt. And, of course, beyond the personalities, these 43 speeches encapsulate key moments in American history. Whether as curriculum support or nostalgia, this print-audio package belongs on library shelves. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved