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Rhetoric: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 28 Mar 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (28 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199651361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199651368
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 1.3 x 11.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Richard Toye is Professor of Modern History at the University of Exeter. He previously worked at the University of Cambridge. He has written widely on modern British and international political and economic history. His critically acclaimed book Lloyd George and Churchill: Rivals for Greatness won him the 2007 Times Higher Young Academic Author of the Year Award. He lives in Exeter with his wife and two sons.

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Review

Rhetoric matters. To explicate this shaggy beast in 35,000 words is no small challenge, and Toye succeeds with a consistently light touch. (The Speechwriter)

About the Author

Richard Toye studied at the University of Birmingham and subsequently the University of Cambridge, where he completed his Ph.D. He is currently Professor of Modern History at the University of Exeter. His books include Lloyd George and Churchill: Rivals for Greatness (2007) and Churchill's Empire: The World That Made Him and the World He Made (2010).

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Susman TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is my first foray into the series `A Very Short Introductions'. I was intrigued by the premise that these titles were intended to give the reader a jump start in subject in a reasonably short, straight forward and concise fashion. The topic here, being `Rhetoric' the ability for people through speech or the written word to attempt to enlighten, influence, or encourage particular audiences in specific situations to their point of view/theory. For me the book seemed to given over more the take of the subject through history and its importance as a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, and the role that rhetoric has played with in the Western tradition. Like other reviewers have commented I found it initially a hard book to get into, but once there I felt the `journey' was worthwhile. All in all a good productive read and hence my 4 star rating.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Sutherland VINE VOICE on 10 Sept. 2013
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Can't go wrong with the Very Short Introduction To... series. Don't be fooled by the name: these are NOT dummies' guides or some such. They're pocket sized and tend to be written by experts in the field, with no dumbing down whatsoever. Brevity, rather than oversimplification, is their MO. (I recall basing a half-decent uni essay on Peter Singer's coverage of Marx's theory of history in his VSIT!) Anyway this one's by Richard Toye, who has written widely on modern British and international political and economic history and concerns rhetoric i.e. the art of effective speaking/writing. Toye is well placed to comment, having previously published a very fine account of Churchill's wartime speaches. Here, in 100 odd pages, he presents a very comprehensive historical account of origins, development and 'scaffolding' (as he calls it) of rhetoric. Recommended for those with an interst in the subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Martin Turner HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 July 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Rhetoric: A Very Short Introduction, in common with others of its series, is neither particularly short, nor limited to an introduction. It is a detailed and extensive short paperback which introduces the principles of classical rhetoric, its history, and then considers current questions in discourse analysis. It is supplemented (rather oddly for an introduction) with exercises, and also has a good bibliography.

Rhetoric, the author argues, is treated as something rather suspect, but we all indulge in it, even if we are opposing it. The rhetor (not rhetorician, as sometimes described) may be using plain-speaking as a rhetorical technique just as much as he or she can use the full range of classical techniques finishing with the peroration.

Author Richard Toye lectures in rhetoric, and does a 5 minute pitch for his course to students. Parts of this book echo Toye's desire to persuade students to value a subject which has gone out of fashion. I find that he makes a good case.

Students of history, literature and history will benefit from the knowledge of rhetoric as it used to be taught which this book imparts. Students of politics will find Toye's analytical techniques useful for decoding and deconstructing speeches. Equally, readers like me who have always intended to find about about rhetoric, but have never done so, will enjoy it for the gap it fills in their knowledge.

Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By pacem et amorem VINE VOICE on 11 Aug. 2013
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This is my third 'Very Short Introductions' book and I have found it as interesting and informative as the others.
Rhetoric is seen in a negative light now, but was taught as a discrete subject in the past. It was respected and many influential figures were students of rhetoric. Now, when rhetoric is mentioned, it is seen as the device of politicians and spin doctors. It is, however, an important way of developing thought processes and communicating opinions.
This book is a great introductory study of the history of rhetoric, its influence over the ages and its uses in the modern world. Excellent reading material!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Simon Tavener VINE VOICE on 11 Aug. 2013
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The OUP collection of Very Short Introductions now stretches to more than 300 topics. I must admit that if I had the money, I would try to assemble a complete set of them. Rather like the BBC Radio 4 institution 'In Our Time', they are fascinating initial insight into a whole range of topics. Always intelligently written and cogently argued, they don't speak down to the reader but still manage to remain accessible.

I have long wanted to know more about Rhetoric - as I know it is something that Shakespeare made great use of (and he is one of my main areas of interest) and so I snapped up with little volume with eager anticipation.

It is, as is to be expected with this series, a well-constructed and well-written introduction to rhetoric and how it has been used throughout history. It has proven to be an interesting and engaging read.

I would, perhaps, have liked a little more of an exploration of the technical terms within the world of rhetoric - but I am sure other volumes cover this in more than adequate detail. This is, when all said and done, a very short introduction.

Long may the OUP continue to commission and publish these little gems.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Max on 8 Sept. 2013
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The study of rhetoric (what I would normally associate with the idea of discourse analysis) is quite a niche area, and so it shows how enormous this 'Very Short Introductions' series has become that a book is devoted to the topic.

I'm glad it has been, though, because it's a well-written, well-researched, and really quite practical volume. Don't be deceived by its size - it's packed with research and practices that rhetors have used to improve their communication.

My only complaint is that it reads a little too much like a text book at times - there are regular exercises, some of which really require you to be in a room of other people studying the topic of rhetoric. Which, lets face it, is unlikely. I'm led to suspect that the author has rather-too-hastily cut down one of his other books on the subject, and hasn't quite thought about the audience. Hence the four, rather than five, stars.
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