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Power in Words: The Stories Behind Barack Obama's Speeches, from the State House to the White House
Synopses & Reviews
Includes eighteen full-length speeches
The behind-the-scenes story of how eighteen speeches made a president
Whatever his ratings, Obama remains personally popular, widely acknowledged for his soaring oratory. His words were one of the lasting legacies of his presidential campaign and are proving to be among his most efficacious governing weapons.
In Power in Words, Berry and Gottheimer introduce Obama’s most memorable speeches, from his October 2002 speech against the war in Iraq and his November 2008 election-night victory speech to “A More Perfect Union,” his March 2008 response to the Reverend Wright controversy, and lesser-known but revealing speeches, such as one given in Nairobi, Kenya, in August 2006.
Berry and Gottheimer include a rich introduction to every speech that features political analysis and provides insight and historical context. Power in Words includes commentary straight from Jon Favreau, Obama’s chief speechwriter, as well as several of his other campaign writers.
“Power in Words dissects the rhetoric of the president in unprecedented ways. A while back I began to see this movement the president is leading as a kind of cultural transformation, and in this book the stories behind the famous addresses come to life.”
“Refer to this work to better understand and appreciate the power of words of our forty-fourth president.”
—Dana Perino, former White House press secretary
Book News Annotation:
Civil rights activist and historian Berry and former presidential speechwriter Gottheimer introduce 18 of Obama's most memorable speeches, exploring how the speeches were written and their impact on the elections. For each complete speech (delivered by Obama from 2002 through the election night victory speech of November 2008), the authors add a 5-6 page introduction giving political analysis and historical context; they also add commentary from the actual speechwriters, including Jon Favreau, Obama's chief speechwriter, and four others. A 33-page introduction to the book overviews the history of campaign speeches by politicians and their growing importance, focusing on the role of speeches in Obama's career. The book lacks a subject index. Berry is professor of American social thought and history at the University of Pennsylvania. Gottheimer teaches at the University of Pennsylvania. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Whatever his ratings, Obama remains personally popular, widely acknowledged for his soaring oratory. His words were one of the lasting legacies of his presidential campaign and are proving to be among his most effective governing weapons.
In Power in Words, distinguished historian and civil rights activist Mary Frances Berry and former presidential speechwriter Josh Gottheimer introduce Obama’s most memorable speeches, from his October 2002 speech against the war in Iraq and his November 2008 election-night victory speech to “A More Perfect Union,” his March 2008 response to the Reverend Wright controversy, and lesser-known but revealing speeches, such as one given in Nairobi, Kenya, in August 2006.
For each speech, Berry and Gottheimer add a rich introduction that includes political analysis, provides insight and historical context, and features commentary straight from the speechwriters themselves—including Jon Favreau, Obama’s chief speechwriter, and several other Obama campaign writers. Compelling and enduring, Power in Words delivers the behind-the-scenes account of Obama’s rhetorical legacy and is a collection to relish for years to come.
About the Author
Mary Frances Berry is the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania. The author of nine books and recipient of over thirty honorary degrees, she has been chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, is a regular contributor to Politico.com, and has appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher, Anderson Cooper 360, The Daily Show, Tavis Smiley, and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
Josh Gottheimer was presidential speechwriter and special assistant to Bill Clinton, and has written speeches for John Kerry, General Wesley Clark, Hillary Clinton, and other high-profile Democrats. He appears regularly on MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN as a political analyst, edited Ripples of Hope: Great American Civil Rights Speeches, and is a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
Ted Sorensen is former special counsel and adviser to President John F. Kennedy and a widely published author on the presidency and foreign affairs.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Ted Sorensen
1 Speech against the Iraq War Resolution
October 2, 2002 l Federal Plaza, Chicago, Illinois
2 Keynote Address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention
July 27, 2004 l FleetCenter, Boston, Massachusetts
3 United States Senate Victory Speech
November 2, 2004 l Hyatt Ballroom, Chicago, Illinois
4 John Lewis’s Sixty-fifth Birthday Gala
February 21, 2005 l Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center, Atlanta, Georgia
5 Knox College Commencement Address
June 4, 2005 l Galesburg, Illinois
6 Call to Renewal Keynote Address
June 28, 2006 l National City Church, Washington, D.C.
7 “An Honest Government, A Hopeful Future”
August 28, 2006 l University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
8 Presidential Announcement Speech
February 10, 2007 l Old State Capitol, Springfield, Illinois
9 Iowa Jefferson-Jackson Dinner
November 10, 2007 l Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Des Moines, Iowa
10 Night of Iowa Caucus
January 3, 2008 l Hy-Vee Hall, Des Moines, Iowa
11 Night of New Hampshire Primary
January 8, 2008 l Nashua South High School, Nashua, New Hampshire
12 South Carolina Primary Victory Speech
January 26, 2008 l Columbia Hotel, Columbia, South Carolina
13 Night of Super Tuesday Primaries
February 5, 2008 l Hyatt Regency Hotel, Chicago, Illinois
14 “A More Perfect Union”
March 18, 2008 l National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
15 Night of North Carolina and Indiana Primaries
May 6, 2008 l RBC Center, Raleigh, North Carolina
16 “A World That Stands as One”
July 24, 2008 l Victory Column, Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany
17 “The American Promise”: Democratic National Convention
August 28, 2008 l Invesco Field, Denver, Colorado
18 Election Night Victory Speech
November 4, 2008 l Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois
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