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Great British Speeches is a stirring anthology of 50 memorable and influential speeches from every period of British history, from the medieval era to the present. From rallying-calls at times of national danger to expressions of moral outrage at the evils of war and slavery, and from passionate defences of principle to eloquent classics of the art of parliamentary debate, Simon Heffer's selection is richly eclectic in scope. Alongside such patriotic tours de force as Elizabeth's speech to her troops at Tilbury in 1588 and the wartime speeches of Winston Churchill are such vigorous statements of ethical indignation as Wilberforce's denunciation of the slave trade (1789), and John Bright's expression of opposition to the Crimean War (1853). This is an anthology with many voices - patriots and sceptics, radicals and conservatives, debaters and polemicists, campaigners and crusaders. The oratorical skills of many of the greatest names and most influential figures in British history are on display here: Fox and Burke, Palmerston and Pitt, Gladstone and Disraeli, Bevan and Gaitskell, Thatcher and Blair, to name but a few. Each speech is accompanied by a concise introduction setting it clearly in its historical context, a brief account of its impact and consequences and a timeline of related events. Great British Speeches is an enthusiastic celebration of the rich tradition of British political oratory. Both inspiring and thought-provoking, it offers a unique and fascinating perspective on seven centuries of our nation's history.
I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain or any prince of Europe should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which, rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. Queen Elizabeth I, 1588
As the Roman, in days of old, held himself free from indignity, when he could say Civis Romanus sum; so also a British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and strong arm of England will protect him against injustice and wrong. Lord Palmerston, 1850
We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets; we shall never surrender. Winston Churchill, 1940
To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catch-phrase, the U-turn, I have only this to say: 'You turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning.@ Margaret Thatcher, 1980See all Product Description