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Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History (Updated and Expanded Edition) Hardcover – October 17, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
The text from which its title is derived is Mark Antony's speech in Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar, and is included among the hundreds in this volume. Credit Safire with a brilliant job of selecting and then introducing each. He should also be commended on his "An Introductory Address" which offers an exceptionally informative as well as entertaining explanation of eleven "secrets steps" when composing and then presenting a great speech. (i.e. "the meat and potatoes of oratory," "the tricks of the speech trade"). They include the usual suspects such as structure ("shapeliness"), pulse, occasion, "forum" (or venue), focus, etc. Safire adds a few others which, in retrospect, seem obvious but really aren't. For example, the importance of the first step: "Shake hands with your audience...Make the first step a quickstep; get your smile, then get to work." Another: "Cross `em up now and then." Safire suggests that great speeches are meant to be read, not spoken. "What every audience needs is a sense of completion." Therefore, what the speaker needs "is a way out on a high note. That's the necessary ingredient to shapeliness. That calls for peroration [which is] a devastating defense against the dread disease of dribbling off."
It is worth noting that some great speeches had no significant impact when first delivered (e.g. Lincoln's 266-word "Gettysburg Address") and some are delivered only during a dramatic performance (e.g. Antony's funeral oration); however, all great speeches continue to be read and admired long after being written.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought it because I am doing a lot of speech related things.... its just not as interesting as I thought it might be.Published 12 months ago by Kari V
Great book if I was interested in great American speeches, I needed it for school and it does haves very interesting content.Published 16 months ago by Gail Swanson
Anything you are looking for is in here. Bought it on a whim one day looking for some inspiration. :)Published on February 12, 2014 by Jeanette Long
This book (or reference guide) contains speeches from many famous presidents and foreign leaders that have changed the world. Read morePublished on December 23, 2013 by PowerUser