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Customer Review

on 26 April 2001
This is a good summary of the major speeches of pivotal figures in the Twentieth Century. Nearly all the important speeches are here from Llyod George's 'Nation fit for heroes', to Churchill and Hitler fighting it out, then to Bevan arguing for a socialist democracy, and finally including some of our latter day speakers such as Michael Portillo and Tony Blair.
The fascinating aspect of this book is the opportunity it provides to see how people of that historical period viewed their problems. Moseley's calls for governmant intervention, along with Trotsky consigning enemies to 'the dustbin of history' gives history a much livelier, vital feel. We perhaps forget once a stage of history has passed or a particular problem overcome the agonising and passion that went into that difficulty which we can now easily judge success or failure. These speeches provide a good reminder of that.
What lets the book down, though I don't suppose it could be any other way, is the shortness of the extracts. A one hour speech is reduced to a couple of pages with only the highlights printed. This, diappointingly, gives the effect of soundbites, albeit tantalising sounbites. Nevertheless it provides a good guide to speeches to be sought out and read in their entirety. In that sense it is invaluable.
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