The definitive compendium of classic and modern oratory expanded—with a new preface on what makes a speech "great."
This new edition of Safire's book, originally published in 1992, retains all the speeches in the first edition and adds 20 new ones, such as Pope Urban II launching the crusades, Bob Dole remembering Richard Nixon, and Colin Powell on racial hatred. Safire's criteria are subjectivea speech is included if he thinks "it's great"and the tone of his unhelpful introduction is one of strained cuteness. Most collections of speeches focus narrowly on particular subjects such as American or classical speeches, with few attempting, like Safire's, to cover all times and places. In fact, The Guide to Reference Books lists only one: Brewer's ten-volume World's Best Orations, published in 1901. Not surprisingly, there is virtually no overlap between Brewer's 350 and Safire's 220 selections. Safire's book is not really necessary for libraries owning the first edition, but it is a good addition for those lacking Brewer's or in need of modern speeches. With an excellent index.Peter A. Dollard, Alma Coll. Lib., Mich.