Boy, oh boy, do I have mixed feelings about 100 Speeches That Roused the World by Colin Salter.
The reason I picked up this book is because I have always been in love with speeches and orators. I believe that the ability to speak in front of an audience is a very powerful skill, and I admire it as such. Many great leaders and many successful people use this skill to make people listen and act in a way they want them to. That is where the true art is, and I really admire this aspect. The fact that you can listen to two or more people tell you the same thing, and only one being able to convince you to do something or believe in something they say is a true gift.
Which takes us to the second reason I picked this book up. To find out more about the people who had this ability in history and made a difference in one way or another. And for the most part, I was pleased. There are speeches of many great (and not so great) leaders out there, speeches of people that made breakthroughs in their fields, people who fought for their rights.
But there was a pattern I noticed in these 100 speeches.
Most of these speeches were either from the UK or USA. And most of them were presidents, prime ministers,royalty or leaders in any other way. And all their speeches were speeches during the wars. Telling their people to fight for their nations.
And I have nothing against those speeches. They were perfect for their time and they did their purpose at the time. What I had a problem with is that there were so many more important times in history when a speech was made and it represented a change.
What about all the speeches that philosophers have given in ancient Rome and Greece? For Rome, where is Julius Caesar’s speech to the senate? For Greece, how about the movement for freedom of speech? What about the speeches during humanism and renaissance? What about some of the groundbreaking speeches that scientists have given over the years?
I was a bit disappointed with the format of the book as well, as the speeches were mostly short paragraphs, followed by a full page of the author’s notes, mostly quoting the same speech again. It was very helpful to know the background of how the speech made a difference in the world, but when most of those speeches didn’t really make any difference, and I was involved in a history lesson of the most important wars in history, it wasn’t much of a fun read.
To conclude, this book wasn’t what I was looking for, both format and content wise. The 100 Speeches mentioned in this book didn’t do enough justice for me. I believe that title is misleading, but I can also understand that some people can still learn a lot by reading it.
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