I Have a Dream

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 August, 2011, 12:00am

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I Have a Dream
by Ferdie Addis
Michael O'Mara Books (e-book)

This book will pick you up on a dispiriting day. Containing 40-plus speeches 'that changed history', as the subtitle promises, it is a mishmash of magical moments when the words of men and women seemed able to change the world. Many of the inclusions will be familiar, such as Martin Luther King's 1968 'I Have a Dream' speech. No surprise either are the inclusion of Jawaharlal Nehru's 1947 'A Tryst with Destiny' and US ex-president George W. Bush's 2002 'Axis of Evil' speeches. Although it is a pleasure to be able to read such finely crafted rhetoric in full, readers will probably gain more from the speeches that are new to them, or largely forgotten, and from the potted bios of the orators and descriptions of the effect of their appeals. Even fictional speeches are included, such as Mel Gibson's much parodied speech from the 1995 film Braveheart: 'Fight and you may die. Run and you will live - at least a while.' Lacking, however, is analysis of the addresses and how the rhythm of words or repetition of words/phrases helped rouse emotions.