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Speeches That Changed the World

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,038 ratings  ·  90 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 Aborigi ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 30th 2006 by Quercus Publishing
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Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is a book that must be read slowly, one speech at a time, so as to allow time for words to have their effect. Reading too many of these speeches one after the other does not allow you to do this, that is, to fully appreciate what the authors of these speeches wanted to tell us. It is a beautiful journey into the past, starting in 1945; speeches made by men and women who have left a great mark in the History with a capital H, for better or for worse. People able to touch the souls of their con ...more
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 fascinati ...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
the de
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 SSM’s 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 women’s 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 c
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. ...more
Juraj Holub
It’s a crash course on history through the oratory of the most famous speeches in 2500 years. Delivered by Jesus, Hitler, Stalin, Nixon, Nero, Cleopatra, Trump or Martin Luther King (my most favorite orator from the list) among many others.
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 classroom—but 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 histor
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 abo ...more
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read Montefiore's 'Written in History' a collection of letters from famous and infamous figures throughout history and found myself spellbound by the secrets and eccentricities of their character. Napoleon for example wrote saucy letters to his missus- we remember his arrogance, his domination of Europe, his... piles and the myth about his height, but Montefiore's work humanised him. Voices of History I liked even more. Hearing a great speech is all well and good but seeing them written ...more
Sarah Clark
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I decided to pick this book to give me a broader understanding of different historical dialogues and how figures have got their views accross in different ways. It was an enjoyable read which covered a broad historical span and helped me to learn more about the nature of figures I had not heard about. Whilst in places poignant, and in others inspirational it helped me understand the power of words and communication in influencing groups of people and events. The new additions were particularly i ...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 demonstratio
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, there'
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.
Nonno Kato
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: semester-2-shelf
Speeches that Changed the World includes 50 great speeches from top-world known celebrities and presidents with a brief autobiography and its greatest speeches that have changed the world's history in many ways. Such speeches include Malcolm X and Martin Luther King that have been the center of the changes in Black history, and well known Bill Gates that has had a significant impact in today's world and technology.

I recommend this book to you all because you will not only gain knowledge of our c
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essay-history
Interesting book that shows excerpts of some of the most interesting or relevant speeches in history. The organization of the speeches, by category, gave me some insights: one, that not many things have changed throughout history with respect to how leaders handle situations. Second, that we have always been led by “curious” people, sometimes quite far from the expected meritocracy. Thirdly, that content is clearly influenced by context. Many of these speeches are quite simplistic, with more foc ...more
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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?
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. ...more
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.
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
Emma Dargue
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting audiobook about speeches that changed history. The audiobook was structured with a short introduction and then narrated by a handful of different narrators including Juliet Stevenson, Richard Armintage, Jade Anouka and Heida Reid. Each of the sections is narrated so well and really gives you a sense of the person. Really interesting.
Aug 28, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are some great speeches here - Churchill, Sojourner Truth, Elie Wiesel, Luther King Jr and Reagan to name, but a few. Yet there are also many that did not change history, but were just by well-known historical figures. The inclusion of the latter makes me question both the title of the book and the lack of inclusion of fictional speeches, such as those from the West Wing.
Kristina Moses
Oct 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
I really enjoyed all the inspirational speaches. One thing that really struck me was how many important people helped end things like racism in other countries, that we don't really learn about in the US. And also how many counties have had female presidents and prime ministers while American has not. And we seem to think we're such a great example of freedom and democracy-_-; ...more
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. ...more
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.
Thomas Acland
A lot of what was in the book was very interesting and it’s really well presented. Not really sure what more I could expect from this but nonetheless I did lose interest at times. I think it’s the sort of book where you need to read one speech a day and then put it down till the next day. Probably just a bad choice for my reading taste.
James Palmer
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some good speaches here. Enough speeches from people I wanted to read the words of were here for my to carry on reading and once I had gained the proverbial momentum required, reading 80 pages per sitting was a common occurence.
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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 Colleg ...more

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