Sunday, December 28, 2014

Speeches That Changed the World - Quercus Publishing

This is a book that one will take in small doses and around which one will do extra reading and video research. Initially, I came to this book to read Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech, but found myself drawn to the speeches of Neville Chamberlain, Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, FDR, and finally, to Elie Wiesel. Strong words that swayed masses of people, left some shaking their heads, kept millions glued to their radio speakers, brought many to tears. The power of a strong message delivered masterfully is brought home to the reader, as each speech is read and then contemplated further through added research.

I highly recommend this book. It made me stop thinking about the drivel that one hears in the sound bites on nightly news and think about those moments in history when the right person spoke up to change the world, for good or bad. It helped me to put events in perspective and to take the moment of the speech as a jumping off point for further review of some of the most important moments in history.

It is a book that enourages us to 'never forget', to always honor the one who speaks up, to think deeply on man's foibles and his good and bad points, to always think about the message before blindly accepting the messenger, to question and evaluate the message of the speechmaker, and to remember one's own humanity and values - that small voice of conscience- while one listens to another louder and more strident voice.

Choosing the speeches for this latest edition of Speeches That Changed the World must have been an arduous task. My compliments go to Simon Sebag Montefiore and the editorial team at Quercus Publishing. One other thing I applaud is the inclusion of the DVD documentary included with this edition. It is an historical overview of 20th century political events that gives background to the speeches included in the book. It should be looked at only as an overview, though. There is so much on the Internet and in other books of history that can give real depth to the speeches and the men and women who spoke.

A good reference for anyone from middle school on up to use in researching world history and a great book to have on the shelf so that one can review famous speeches when they are referred to in conversation or in media.


  1. Thanks for this share. Sounds like an inspiriting book. I really long to hear more words that lift a reader or listener out of a shallow news bite to see and hear a much bigger view.

  2. This would very much float my boat. I love to read speeches, required my son to learn Eisenhower's D-Day speech, and think that Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech is inspired and very favorite. Though I also love the cadence of FDR's Day of Infamy speech and many of Winston Churchill's as well. Was your "favorite" speech changed by resding this book or learning of less well known speeches?