Field: Politics
Title: Speeches that changed the world
Compiled by: Simon Sebag Montefiore
Publication: Quercus Publishing 2006
ISBN 10: 1-84724-087-9
Rating: aaaa
Level: Beginner
Reviewed by: Shamil Semanat

The book as the title suggests provides readers with a number of speeches delivered from as early as Prophet Moses's 'The Tenth Commendments' to George W. Bush's 'Address to the Nation' after the 9/11 incident. It also includes an introduction from Simon Sebag Montefiore, a historian and writer by profession. Valued at £25, I find the book not only worthwhile but has the ability to rouse and inspire even those who have no interest in world event. The layout and arrangement are particularly amazing in that it introduce the person referred to before his speech. In this, it provide those anew to history of the world a ground basis to understand and appreciate not only the speech but also the event taken place during the era.

One speech I personally admired was this one, from John F. Kennedy for his inaugural address;

..."We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world. Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

..."So let us begin anew—remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate. Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us."

..."All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin."

..." And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country."

And this one is from The Closing Speech of Clarence Darrow, a defense lawyer from States which i find it too imposing to just leave out;

"Now, gentlemen, just one more word, and I am through with this case. I do not live in Detroit. But I have no feeling against this city. In fact, I shall always have the kindest remembrance of it, especially if this case results as I think and feel that it will. I am the last one to come here to stir up race hatred, or any other hatred. I do not believe in the law of hate. I may not be true to my ideals always, but I believe in the law of love, and I believe you can do nothing with hatred. I would like to see a time when man loves his fellow man, and forgets his color or his creed. We will never be civilized until that time comes.

I know the Negro race has a long road to go. I believe the life of the Negro race has been a life of tragedy, of injustice, of oppression. The law has made him equal, but man has not. And, after all, the last analysis is, what has man done?--and not what has the law done? I know there is a long road ahead of him, before he can take the place which I believe he should take. I know that before him there is suffering, sorrow, tribulation and death among the blacks, and perhaps the whites. I am sorry. I would do what I could to avert it. I would advise patience; I would advise toleration; I would advise understanding; I would advise all of those things which are necessary for men who live together.

Gentlemen, what do you think is your duty in this case? I have watched, day after day, these black, tense faces that have crowded this court. These black faces that now are looking to you twelve whites, feeling that the hopes and fears of a race are in your keeping.

This case is about to end, gentlemen. To them, it is life. Not one of their color sits on this jury. Their fate is in the hands of twelve whites. Their eyes are fixed on you, their hearts go out to you, and their hopes hang on your verdict.

This is all. I ask you, on behalf of this defendant, on behalf of these helpless ones who turn to you, and more than that,--on behalf of this great state, and this great city which must face this problem, and face it fairly,--I ask you, in the name of progress and of the human race, to return a verdict of not guilty in this case!"

In short, I believe the book will be very beneficial to those who have interest in global events; especially to those who appreciate the art of speech writing. Besides, upon reading, I'm sure some will find a number of speeches written here to be of utmost relevant to our condition nowadays; eventhough years have past since.



  1. shamil..bila nk buku ke 2 nie?? anymore inspiring speech to share?? ;-)

  2. salam, the book really provides us with inspiring speeches by great leaders, but there's only one small problem, why do Simon Sebag Montefiore need to put speeches by Israeli leaders namely Golda Meir and Chaim Herzog? it is such a disgrace for such a great book!