Speeches That Reshaped the World


Speeches That Reshaped the WorldAuthor: Alan J Whiticker
Publisher: Mehta Publishing House
(Pp 302, ISBN 978-81-8498-164-3, Rs 300)

Speeches That Reshaped The World is a collection of the greatest speeches of modern times- speeches that instigated war and called for peace, that liberated women and recognized AIDS sufferers, that aimed to abolish poverty. It includes speeches that not only shaped and changed the world but also moved us to action – emotionally, politically and socially. In fact, this is a collection of the most potent and memorable speeches given since the year 1900. Nearly sixty speeches have been categorized under politics, civil rights, war, great women, change and peace and reconciliation. A significant facet of the collection is a section devoted to female voices- speeches of immense clarity and hope. There are a dozen speeches by female orators- including heads of state, such as Queen Elizabeth II, Israel’s Golda Meir, Benazir Bhutto, Hillary Clinton and the unsung voices of Elizabeth Glaser and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Many of these speeches are inspirational and historic. John F Kennedy’s “ Ask not what America can do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man”; Nelson Mandela’s statement ”I am the first accused…” from the dock at the opening of his defince in 1964 Rivonia Trial where he spoke of his ancestry and the struggle for black equality in his white dominated home land; Mahatma Gandhi’s momentous arguments in March 1922 at the historic trial when he was charged under Section 124A of the Indian penal code, when he defended his case on the grounds of ‘law versus conscience’ and many more such historical speeches have been included in this.

These speeches have recurring themes of politics and diplomacy, war and peace, freedom and justice, civil rights and human rights. What they all have in common is the rhetoric: the power of persuasion. These speeches carry the hopes and regrets of our modern world, and become even more powerful and poignant with the passage of time.

Alan J Whiticker, born 1958 is an Australian non-fiction author with currently over 35 published books.

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