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Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches In History
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Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches In History

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  261 ratings  ·  29 reviews
An instant classic when first published in 1992 and now substantially revised and expanded, Lend Me Your Ears collects more than two hundred of history's outstanding instances of oratorical eloquence. They are selected, arranged, and introduced by William Safire, considered by many to be the most influential political columnist in America, himself a former speechwriter and ...more
Hardcover, 1055 pages
Published May 7th 1997 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1992)
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Matthew Klippenstein
Good book, but somewhat Eurocentric -- which may reflect the editor's greater familiarity with Western history and historical figures.
Also, a surprising amount of recent (late 20th century) material. This was disappointing. While the modern population is much larger than in earlier times -- and there might therefore be more momentous speeches nowadays than in earlier ages -- one gets the impression that this has been a Golden Age of Oratory.

I'd be curious whether the next edition of the book in
Here's what I do with this book...I like to read the speeches out loud. I think it is a great way to become more relaxed and comfortable if/when we speak in front of others and what better material is there to practice with?
James B.
A great book of great speeches. I use this as the primary source document for speeches in my rhetoric class.
RJ Corby
William Safire has given readers a remarkable gift with this collection. Lend Me Your Ears is very similar to a book of poetry - it is to be treasured, read and referenced over a lifetime; never to be "finished" or forgotten.

This book has broad appeal - especially to fans of history and politics. But, anyone looking for inspiration or uplifting can find an appropriate speech or passage in its pages. And, most importantly, the book cuts both ways across the political divide - one can find speeche
Fiona Rawsontile
Writing a review of this book takes some courage, for this is a book coauthored by hundreds of remarkable characters throughout the human history.

I first borrowed this book from one of NYU’s libraries because I needed to write political speeches for a science fiction. It soon became clear that this is not a book that can be skimmed through in a few days. Not a beach read or a diversion you bring to an airplane. It desires a slot on my bookshelf and is well worth the $35 I spent on Amazon. There
Angus McDonald
This book has one simple premise, to take great speeches from history and present them to us in English, along with a simple introduction as to why the author (a presidential speech writer himself) finds them worthy of inclusion.

The speeches are broadly categorized by type, religion, politics, military, etc. and have a broad appeal.

Unlike some writers this book does not focus particularly on multiple speeches from the same speaker. Rather each is taken separately and included for its particular
This is a fantastic collection of speeches, and Safire provides just the right amount of context to allow them to be read with the same gravitas as they had when they were first given. He also points the reader towards what he believes are things to be noted about each speech, which is very helpful for the aspiring speechwriter or even the interested layman, without getting in the way of the original writing. I would definitely recommend this collection to anyone with an interest in rhetoric, hi ...more
Bob Finch
a marvelous reference book.
Dan W
This is a magnificent collection of speeches from pivotal moments in ancient and modern history. It is one thing to hear snips of these speeches on sound clips or in history books, quite another to read them in full context. This book serves as solid reference material, motivation, and an anthology of eloquence.

In the modern age of sound bite, the real art of stirring passion via soulful words is all but lost. This book serves as a window into the souls and minds of brilliant men and women.
Benjamin Alexander
I read Karl Barth's small Christmas sermon in the book. He stressed Jesus' being right beside us in this lonely and dark world. Some of my comments on this notion:

To the degree that God is One He is beside His saints. But technically Jesus is reigning at the Right Hand of God the Father and it is the person of the Holy Spirit that is with us. There is another sense in which God is "next" to all people in the world for He is omnipresent. But Barth was a little off I think.
Reading the speeches really is fascinating. It puts an entirely new perspective on U.S and world histoy. Reading the speeches from Abe Lincoln, General Macarthur, Judge Learned Hand, Queen Elizabeth and manny more giving a renewed interest in history and what it means to our future.
This book is really not a book that needs to be read in order as each speech is different. However the book does categorize the speeches. Very good book.
Gideon Burton
This is a solid anthology of speeches, but is organized by theme, rather than chronologically, and many of the selections seem to be very spotty (not all that representative either of their historical period or of that genre of speaking). Still, for an inexpensive anthology (I bought the ebook for under $5), it is a useful book (especially for class purposes, as I used it).
Rahul Khanna
I am in no hurry to finish this book. In fact, it is not a book to read but to study. William Safire is a erudite and I wonder how he wrote introduction of this book! It is amazing. I marked this quote from introduction ''Tell them what you're going to tell them; then tell them; then tell them what you told them''.
Rivka D.
I think everyone should read this book. Seeing the written form of famously spoken words has shed a lot of light on what the speakers were actually saying.
That said, I hated reading this book. One of those necessary evils of education that will come in handy later in life.
I will try to keep this book close at hand. It is full of suprises and delights ranging from a relection on what a dog could mean to a man, to Richard Nixon's eulogy for Everett Dirksen that captures what we desperately need in today's politicians
This anthology of speeches is wonderful! Not as many women speakers as I would like, but the quality and contextual notes more than compensate. Just about any major speech you can think of is in this book (and even some you never knew about!)
Heather Denigan
The editor seems to have made his selections with an eye towards political correctness than their actual significance or influence. I don't think even Reagan's "tear down this wall" speech made it in--what!!!!
This book is really fun to pick up and put down--so many great and influential speeches, just little snippets of history. It's quite a pretty book, too, which all books should try to be if they possibly can.
Reading some of these speeches was somewhat cathartic. I felt a connection to the past in a way that no history class has been able to produce. Really good gradual read.
I had to purchase this for a class I am taking. It is something everyone should have on his/her bookshelf.
Margot Friedman
Feb 09, 2008 Margot Friedman rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs, speechwriters
The best way to get inspired to start writing a great speech is to read the greatest speeches in history.
Howard Cincotta
I do some speechwriting,and Safire's intro and commentary are worth the price of admission.
Jan 02, 2008 Jimmy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody
sparkling speeches like gandi's eulogy
remarkable sentences from mark twain
Brittany Petruzzi
When it's good, it's good. When it's bad, it's bad.
My favorite gift to grads ... I read it like poetry.
Interesting introductions to each speech. Very informative.
Anthony Etyang
Excellent read,would recommend it to everyone
Excellent material on rhetorical techniques.
Collection of Great speeches.
Jennifer Belaire
Jennifer Belaire marked it as to-read
Oct 04, 2015
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William Lewis Safire was an American author, columnist, journalist and presidential speechwriter.

He was perhaps best known as a long-time syndicated political columnist for the New York Times and a regular contributor to "On Language" in the New York Times Magazine, a column on popular etymology, new or unusual usages, and other language-related topics.
More about William Safire...
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