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Speeches That Changed the World

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  806 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Comprehensively updated with many new speeches including Earl Spencer's lament to 'The extraordinary and irreplaceable Diana', Nikita Khrushchev's secret speech of 1956 signalling the beginning of the end of Stalinist Russia, Patrick Pearse's rousing funeral oration that fanned the flames of the Easter Rising, Kevin Rudd's historic apology to Australia's mistreated ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 30th 2006 by Quercus Publishing
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Tomas Ramanauskas
Sep 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The most interesting find in this book is how unspectacular and even boring some immortal speeches appear decades later and in written form. They just don't have any power if you don't pinch yourself about historical importance and the context. Only Patton, Luther King and Churchill really break through and come alive.
Jeremy Perron
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
My initial reaction to this book was it was not properly titled. I think a better title would have been Pieces of my Favorite Speeches. The speeches are taken from various people throughout history from Jesus to President Barack Obama. Each speech is preceded by a mini-biography. The historical and world changing aspects of each speech are up to some debate. The speeches are not always presented whole, but edited for space and in some cases outright mutilated. There were some I found fascinating ...more
Peter McDonald
Sep 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best speech book I have because it comes with a set of recording on CD of some of hte modern speeches. It is just electric listening (and reading). Beautifully presented with some great speeches of men and women throughout time. Just love it and highly recommend ikt
Dec 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Objective Summary

This book identifies 55 speeches from 48 orators that changed the world. Each section has one or two pages of background leading up to the speech, then two or three pages of excerpts from the speech. Here are the speeches:

1. Moses "Though shalt have no other gods before me." The Ten Commandments, Exodus 20, 1-17
2. Jesus of Nazareth "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." The Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7
3. Mohammed "Turn your face towards the
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection provides examples of the power of words for good and for evil. It was wonderful to 'hear'
the dignity and passion of Martin Luther-King, Barak Obama and Abraham Lincoln
the battlefield motivation of Tim Collins
the courage of Socrates, Anwar al-Sadat and Yitzhak Rabin
the defiance of Churchill
the eloquent sadness of Elie Wiesel
the sober voices of Oppenheimer and Greta Thunberg
It was also deeply disturbing to 'hear'
the ruthless hatred of Hitler, Stalin and Genghis Khan
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
some interesting ones, most not so...
Nov 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I have enjoyed various aspects of this book, including the speeches. Inevitably some more than others.

I found SSMs introduction to the book quite powerful. The intros to every speech were also helpful - felt like arranging the chairs to listen to the speech.

Including womens speeches is also helpful to compensate for the male perspective of history that we have grown used to - I am observing rather than passing judgement.

But what really surprised me is SSM statements that we live in a world
Sep 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: history-politics
A compilation of influential speeches with poorly written lead ins that fail to give a decent context in which the speeches were given. The speeches themselves are wonderful, but I can't give the book credit for printing abridged versions of better men's words.
Jared Pangier
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-2020
This book was nothing like I thought it would be when I ordered it for my classroombut I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Had I done my research better, I would have realized that this book is more about the history behind the speeches and the famous speakers than the rhetoric or technique or persuasion used within. In fact, there is very little analysis at all. And yet, I enjoyed this collection way more than I ever expected to, despite having been mistaken about its content.

Simon Montefiore, a
Joshua Rafter
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: la-2020
I was scrolling past books on the app on my computer, and I came across this book that I had bought before. I had already read it, but I wanted to read it more carefully to better understanding why these people wrote such iconic speeches. The author of the book introduced an analysis of how different speeches have different intentions and how they impact the people in different ways. Beyond his introduction, the author only gives context to the time period or event that the orator is talking ...more
Nonno Kato
Mar 29, 2019 rated it liked it

Full of great speeches packed into one single novel..

This book is for readers who are seeking for a change in their life to become outstanding influencers that want to deliver their message to the audience in a powerful way.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.. Martin Luther King has inspired and influenced people around the world with his greatest demonstration
Mike Steven
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Starting with Moses and ending up with George W Bush, this is a nice spin through history based upon some of the most important speeches that have ever been made.

I read it as something to dip in and out of - you get a brief explanation of the point in history, a brief biography of the speechmaker and a transcript of the speech (there's also a CD recording of some of the speeches to listen to as well).

It does have a western - and particularly an American - bias. However, be that as it may,
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am no historian, that's why i wont judge on basis of history, utility and necessity.
I am a scientist and lack(ed) some mayor history knowledge.
This book helped me to improve my general education. Before each speech there is a paragraph setting the speech in political and historical backround. There is a lot to learn; I can and will recommend it to everybody in want to improve knowledge and probably interest in historical events.

In my opinion this book was directed to persons like me, who are
Naira Aslanyan
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love the revised version of this book however I thought that the translation of some of the speeches could have been better and more powerful. I also questioned some of the selections as people whose speeches where in the book had better ones but they were not in this edition. I do think this is a must have book for everybody who is interested in world affairs and wants to understand the history of the world
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Manikandan Sankaran
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reading this book was almost like living vicariously, listening to those powerful speeches during those times. The author's description of the political / social climes of the time and the speakers life provides rich context. Must read for anyone interested in history. With speeches from Hitler, Kennedy, Stalin, Gandhi, etc. it serves as a reminder to politicians invoking jingoistic extremism and the dire consequences thereof.
Kyle Harrison
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read these words by great dreamers, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, others, and I wonder what happened? Did we achieve the greatness we were promised? Or do we still fight the same fights as they did?

Patrick Henry, addressing the Continental Congress, said I know of no other way of judging the future but by the past. So what is our past, and what insight does it offer us into our future?
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is not a "sit down and blow off an evening" kind of read. It's a "read a single essay in an hour and think about it for a while and wait for a week before reading another" kind of read. Took me about six months to finish it and ..... confession time: I skimmed some.

I learned about history and psychology and rhetoric and morality and propaganda .... reading people's thoughts-made-public is an expanding kind of activity. Hard work. But worth the bother.
Kathryn Marie
I read through this whole book very quickly as a pretty young reader. It's a nice collection (with a nice amount of diversity) of lots of powerful words. Not everything is covered here, but for a young reader like I was, this was a great start.
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it
I would have liked for somewhat deeper insights into historical contexts of some speeches, a more profound analysis of the speeches themselves. Then again, it's probably meant to be a collection of the most influential discourses throughout the centuries, not a thesis on each of them separately.
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great collections of speeches with helpful historical context accompanying each one. The only flaws are that some of the categories felt unnecessary and could have been grouped together in a more fluid fashion. The context could also do a better job of defining key terms within the speeches.
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like it - but am giving up on finishing it!
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved the potted history before the speeches that out things in context and in some cases helped me actually gain invited into events, I had not thought about much....e.g. The Korean War
Al Kags
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very useful book

I have found this book to be very useful as it has packed hundreds of huge ideas into this collection of passionate speeches.
Samuel Gombe
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
conspicuosly absent is anything about MALCOLM X and MARCUS MESSIAH GARVEY..Mandela championed transfer of power from Apartheid to Democracy,sadly though 30 YEARS later The LAND QUESTION is yet to be tackled comprehensively,when South Africa degenerates like Zimbabwe its the ANC that will shoulder the blame
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Words constitute our thoughts and visions, and encode our views on society. A set of words so delicately placed can come inside us either to put us through the darkest of times that misguide us or else, can strengthen us to a bright future we envision. No matter its effects, the collection of numerous speeches written in the book Speeches That Changed the World has had an unbelievable amount on the impact on the world. Therefore words are powerful. As words that come in as you read through this ...more
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic book. Speeches that are educational, funny, haunting, prophetic, tearful and profound. I learnt about a new piece of history on almost every page.
Patrick Garrett
Jul 30, 2013 rated it liked it
I originally bought this book for a seminar on rhetoric. The book, I think, did me more good than the class did, because it has started many great conversations about the power of oratory among people who have come to the house. I constantly return to it as a reference to speeches delivered by speakers from Oppenheimer to Stalin. With so many copies available for such a small price, this would be a great addition to your coffee table--no matter how you take it. On the other hand, it is not ...more
Jul 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everybody
there's just something about great speakers whose words are so powerful and inspiring. yet too, there's something about great speakers whose charisma is spellbinding while delivering their speeches.

the book is really great for those in the writing industry, or those who simply need to be inspired.
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Simon Sebag Montefiore is the author of the global bestsellers 'The Romanovs' and 'Jerusalem: the Biography,' 'Stalin: the Court of the Red Tsar' and Young Stalin and the novels Sashenka and One Night in Winter and "Red Sky at Noon." His books are published in 48 languages and are worldwide bestsellers. He has won prizes in both non-fiction and fiction. He read history at Gonville and Caius ...more

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