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Books by and about 2020 presidential candidates
Crippled America,
by Donald J. Trump (2015)
by Cory Booker (2016)
The Truths We Hold,
by Kamala Harris (2019)
Smart on Crime,
by Kamala Harris (2010)
Guide to Political Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2017)
Where We Go From Here,
by Bernie Sanders (2018)
Promise Me, Dad ,
by Joe Biden (2017)
Conscience of a Conservative,
by Jeff Flake (2017)
Two Paths,
by Gov. John Kasich (2017)
Every Other Monday,
by Rep. John Kasich (2010)
Courage is Contagious,
by John Kasich (1998)
Shortest Way Home,
by Pete Buttigieg (2019)
The Book of Joe ,
by Jeff Wilser (2019; biography of Joe Biden)
by Michelle Obama (2018)
Our Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2016)
This Fight Is Our Fight,
by Elizabeth Warren (2017)
Higher Loyalty,
by James Comey (2018)
The Making of Donald Trump,
by David Cay Johnston (2017)
Books by and about the 2016 presidential election
What Happened ,
by Hillary Clinton (2017)
Higher Loyalty ,
by James Comey (2018)
Trump vs. Hillary On The Issues ,
by Jesse Gordon (2016)
Hard Choices,
by Hillary Clinton (2014)
Becoming ,
by Michelle Obama (2018)
Outsider in the White House,
by Bernie Sanders (2015)

Book Reviews

(from Amazon.com)

(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from Amazon.com)

The 100
Insight and Lessons from 100 of the Greatest Speeches Ever Delivered
by Simon Maier and Jeremy Kourdi

(Click for Amazon book review)

BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:

This book analyzes political speeches, but more from a speechmaking perspective than a political perspective. It's about the 100 greatest speeches of history, which were mostly delivered by politicians or political activists. But the book's focus is on how rhetorical techniques accomplished the speaking goals, not on any political goals.

Some of the speechmakers covered in this book, whom we have omitted because they don't have OnTheIssues.org webpages, include:

  • American politicians: Ann Richards (Governor of Texas); Franklin Roosevelt (US President); Benjamin Franklin (US Ambassador)
  • World politicians: Fidel Castro (Cuban leader); Winston Churchill (British leader); Adolf Hitler (German leader)
  • Historical figures: Leon Trotsky (Russian revolutionary); Galileo Galilei (Renaissance scientist); Socrates (ancient Greek philosopher)
  • TV personalities: Walter Cronkite (newscaster); Bill Cosby (comedian); Oprah Winfrey (talk show host)
The book's focus is on rhetorical devices used by the speechmakers to make their point effectively. Evidently there are terms for these rhetorical devices (pp. 6-7), such as "parallelism" for JFK's trick of using successive phrases with similar grammatical structure: "We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe...." Most readers could figure out the term "parallelism," but how about "anastrophe", when a speaker "departs from the normal word order for the sake of emphasis", such as Winston Churchill's famous line, "Never was so much owed by so many to so few."

How about "symploce", which apparently is as commonplace as it is unpronounceable (it means repeating a phrase): " Much of what I say might sound bitter, but it's the truth. Much of what I say might sound like it's stirring up trouble, but it's the truth. Much of what I say might sound like it is hate, but it's the truth." That's Malcolm X, and the book offers other examples from JFK to Bill Clinton.

My favorite rhetorical device evidently does not have a cool name, but is called only "the rule of three" (p. 6), that "speakers have always found that by putting things together in threes they can hit home with their message." For example, Pres. Obama described his wife as "The rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation's next first lady." When my brother Dan wrote a book and several times used just two terms to make his point, I noted in the margin, "Complete the triptych!" meaning he should add a third term to make the point more memorably. Our mom, an artist, painted a "triptych", or a three-panel painting; my brother, unaware of this term, wrote back, "what the heck are you talking about?" I knew the rhetorical device, and hoped this book might finally justify my using the term "triptych" to parallel "anastrophe" and "symploce", but alas, this one is only "the rule of three."

-- Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org, Aug. 2011

 OnTheIssues.org excerpts:  (click on issues for details)
Budget & Economy
    Ronald Reagan: Inherited tired & cynical country; left it encouraged.
Civil Rights
    John McCain: 2008 concession: Obama helps country heal racial wounds.
    Lyndon Johnson: Malcolm X: LBJ had no "genuine interest" in blacks pre-1964.
Foreign Policy
    Barack Obama: OpEd: Life story gives him broad appeal beyond USA.
    George Bush Sr.: 1989: A new breeze is blowing in world refreshed by freedom.
    John F. Kennedy: We can work with Communists? Let them come to Berlin!
    John F. Kennedy: 1963: Support the beleaguered people of Berlin.
    Ronald Reagan: 1988: Agreed to mutual nuclear reduction with USSR.
    Rudy Giuliani: Countries must all stand together in fight against terrorism.
    John F. Kennedy: Bay of Pigs defeat enhanced Castro's stature.
Government Reform
    John F. Kennedy: Ask not what your country can do for you.
Homeland Security
    Bill Clinton: Stand up and talk about fear and hatred.
    Rudy Giuliani: America's Mayor: mouthpiece for how Americans felt post-9/11.
    Colin Powell: Hispanic immigrant today as precious as Mayflower descendant.
Principles & Values
    Barack Obama: Campaign slogan: "Yes, we can".
    Bill Clinton: Founders knew that America, to endure, would have to change.
    Bill Clinton: Greatest legacy: set standard for connecting with electorate.
    John F. Kennedy: Legacy is aspiration, not legislative accomplishments.
    John F. Kennedy: 1960: Understood the relatively new media of television.
    Ronald Reagan: 1986: Postponed state-of-the-union for Challenger disaster.
    John F. Kennedy: 1962: We choose to go to the moon because doing it is hard.
War & Peace
    Colin Powell: OpEd: will be remembered for speech to UN on WMD in Iraq.
    George Bush Sr.: 1992 warning on Kuwait from Thatcher: "Don't go wobbly".
Welfare & Poverty
    Barack Obama: Belief that "I am my brother's keeper" makes America work.

The above quotations are from The 100
Insight and Lessons from 100 of the Greatest Speeches Ever Delivered
by Simon Maier and Jeremy Kourdi.
All material copyright 1999-2022
by Jesse Gordon and OnTheIssues.org
Reprinting by permission only.

E-mail: submit@OnTheIssues.org
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Cambridge, MA 02140

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