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BOOK REVIEW: SPEECHES THAT SHAPED THE WORLD – Alan J. Whiticker

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Khidki (Window)

–Read Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

     The book is edited and partially written by Alan J. Whiticker. He is an Australian non-fiction author, publisher, with over, forty published books, including Speeches that Changed the World. He is a former teacher and a lecturer, but now works, as a freelance writer, and a commissioning editor for a publishing company.

    Says Greek philosopher Aristotle, ‘In making a speech one must study three points: first, the means of producing persuasion; second, the language; third, the proper arrangement of the various parts of the speech.

    Speeches tell you, what the person is all about. It tells you what the person’s vision, and value is, and that helps the world to carve a moralistic and decisive path ahead.

    The book is a collection of the greatest speeches of the 20th Century says the author.  The speeches are indeed all time great that have helped in shaping and changing the world for the better. The speeches in this special volume are, out of the speeches, from the bestselling book, ‘Speeches that Shaped the Modern World (2005) and speeches that reshaped the Modern World (2008) as well as speeches from the new millennium, that have also moved us, as citizens of this universe—both emotionally, politically and even socially.

    The subject book was first published in the year 2016 by New Holland Publishers Pty Ltd., and later in 2018 by Jaico. The Jaico price of the book is Rs 350.

    The speeches in this book reflect the life and achievements of some of history’s most famous and infamous personalities such as, Mahatma Gandhi, Adolf Hitler, Nelson Mandela, the Kennedy family, Fidel Castro and Barack Obama to name, but a few. Many of these speeches such as—Franklin D Roosevelt’s ‘A Day that will live in Infamy’ in 1941; Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ in 1963, and Queen Elizabeth II’s ‘Annus Horribilis’ in 1962, have become iconic signposts over a period of time.

    While the United States has a plethora of great leaders. Only Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, Barack Obama and a few more American leaders feature in this volume. The volume however covers other international leaders. It is also heartening to see so many high profile female leaders featuring in this narration such as, Hillary Clinton, Indira Gandhi, Malala Yousafzai and Aung San Suu Kyi —who provide important perspectives on social issues such as equality, human rights and education.

    The book is not meant to be a definitive list of the ‘greatest’ of speeches of all time—which have already been done by other authors. This eclectic group of speeches reinforce recurring themes, such as politics, war and peace, freedom and justice, civil rights and human rights and cover many of the historic events and issues of the past century. Net-net these are speeches that have already resonated in the world over a period of time and still guide us. Included in this volume are also some of the priceless speeches by Steve Jobs, Stephen Hawking, Julia Gillard, Pope Francis and Barack Obama.

    The thing that I liked the most about the book was that, the author-cum-editor, has endeavoured to provide a historical context, for each speech and a biographical background of each speaker. Wherever possible, the author has avoided, offering his own critique, of the merits, of each speech. He believes, let the words speak for themselves, as they are, after all, the speeches that have shaped the world.

    Some of the speeches covered in this narration are extremely relevant for the world even today. Let me take you through all the topics on which these orations were delivered in just a para, as that will give you the essence and flavour of the book. I’m deliberately not mentioning the orators name which you can find out when you read the book.

   It starts with the muck-raking journalist, compared cleverly with political and journalistic mudslinging. Followed by ‘Freedom, or death, a fund raising speech. Against the War is another speech, always a relevant topic, in this belligerent world. But you must have a peace plan, a good lecture by someone. Can you think of a monarch who can abdicate his throne his power for the love of his life and he delivers a heartfelt speech after that. Then you have the ‘The Jewish Question.’ Followed by, the famous speech ‘We shall fight in the beaches.’ Followed by ‘A date which will live in infamy when USA was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. Then comes the Quit India speech. ‘Aggression anywhere in the world, is a threat to peace everywhere in the world, and that takes us to a famous speech on MacArthur and Korea. Then you have ‘Cross of Iron’ a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. And not to forget the ‘United Nations Address’ The longest speech in the history of United Nations. Then comes The Wind of Change—an address to the South African Parliament in Cape Town. And quite historical is a speech on, ‘The Cuban Missile Crisis.’ Quite gripping is the speech, ‘Lincoln Memorial, Washington—I have a Dream. Then comes, ‘The Bullet or the Ballot’ Cleveland, Ohio about the victim of white supremacist group. And what comes next is the famous speech on, ‘Announcement of Martin Luther King’s Death.’ Next is the ‘Eulogy for Robert F Kennedy. ‘Farewell to the White House.’ ‘Peace with Justice,’ an address to the Israeli Knesset, in Tel Aviv. What follows is ‘True liberation of Women.’ The Falklands War. A long speech on the Berlin Wall. An address to the US Congress. Dissolving of the Soviet Union. And then Annus Horribilis a speech in Guildhall, London. Release from Prison, an address to a rally, upon release from prison at Cape Town. Then you have a speech ‘On Women’s Rights, UN World Conference on Women, in Beijing, China. Then you have a Eulogy for Diana, Princess of Wales, in Westminster Abbey, London. Freedom of Thought—American University, Washington DC. ‘Yekaterinburg Apology,’ St Petersburg, Russia. A Great People has been Moved, Washington DC. Stanford University Commencement Address, Stanford University, California. Questioning the Universe, Technology, Entertainment and Design Talk, Vancouver. Misogyny Speech, Australian House of Representative, Canberra. A World at School Speech, UN General Assembly, New York. Apology to Church Victims of Sexual Abuse, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Montgomery County. Common-Sense Gun Safety Reform, White House, Washington DC.

    These speeches highlight recurring themes such as politics and power, war and peace, civil rights and human rights. What they all have in common is the power to inspire—emotionally, politically and socially.

    Different events and many nations are represented in these pages. Each speech is presented along with its historical context and the biographical background of the speaker to enhance your reading experience.

    In its 283 pages the book covers thirty eight speeches across eras, geographies, issues and causes. The language of the book is rich meant for niche reading. I would give it seven out of ten. A good read.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 8 prestigious libraries of the US that includes Harvard College Library; Harvard University Library; Library of Congress; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Yale University, New Haven; University of Chicago; University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill University Libraries. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in libraries and archives of Canada, Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai and Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, India)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories. It is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

Short stories and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June 15 & 20 2020; Indica 15.8.20; The Story of King Chitraketu August 31 2020.

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

BIOGRAPHY POINT: AUTHOR GRAHAM GREENE

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    Henry Graham Greene (2 October 1904 – 3 April 1991), is better known by his pen name Graham Greene. He is regarded by many as one of the leading English novelists of the 20th century. Greene combined literary acclaim with widespread popularity. He acquired a reputation early in his lifetime as a major writer, both of serious Catholic novels, and of thrillers (or “entertainments” as he termed them). He was shortlisted, in 1966 and 1967, for the Nobel Prize for Literature. In his 67 years of writings, which included over 25 novels, he explored both, the ambivalent moral, and political issues of the modern world, often through a Catholic perspective.

    Although Greene objected strongly to his being described as a Roman Catholic novelist, rather than a novelist who happened to be Catholic, Catholic religious themes are at the root, of most of his writings, especially, in four of his major Catholic novels such as, Brighton Rock, The Power and the Glory, The Heart of the Matter, and The End of the Affair. Several of his works, such as The Confidential Agent, The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana, The Human Factor, and his screenplay for The Third Man, also show Greene’s avid interest in the workings and intrigues of international politics and espionage.

    Greene was born in Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire into a large, influential family that included the owners of the Greene King Brewery. He boarded at Berkhamsted School in Hertfordshire, where his father taught and became headmaster. Unhappy at the school, he attempted suicide several times. He attended Balliol College, Oxford, to study history, where, as an undergraduate, he published his first work in 1925—a poorly received volume of poetry titled, Babbling April. He converted to a Catholic, in 1926 after meeting his future wife, Vivien Dayrell-Browning. Later in life he took to calling himself a “Catholic agnostic.” He published his first novel, The Man Within, in 1929. Its favourable response enabled him to work full-time as a novelist. He supplemented his novel’s income with freelance journalism, and book and film reviews.

    Greene originally divided his fiction into two genres (which he described as “entertainments” and “novels”). His thrillers often had notable philosophic edges—such as The Ministry of Fear. His literary works on which he thought his literary reputation rested was The Power and the Glory.

    Greene had a history of depression, which had a profound effect on his writing and personal life. In a letter to his wife Vivien, he told her that, he had, “a character, profoundly antagonistic, to ordinary domestic life,”

    Henry Graham Greene was born in 1904 in St. John’s House, a boarding house of Berkhamsted School, in Hertfordshire, where his father was a housemaster. He was fourth of the six children. His younger brother Hugh became the Director-General of the BBC, and his elder brother Raymond an eminent physician and mountaineer.

    Greene’s father, Charles Henry Greene and mother Marion Raymond Greene, were first cousins, both members of a large, influential family that included the owners of Greene King Brewery, bankers, and statesmen. His mother was the cousin of novelist Robert Louis Stevenson. Charles Greene, Graham Greene’s father was the second master at Berkhamsted School, where the headmaster was Dr Thomas Fry, who was married to Charles’ cousin.

    In his childhood, Greene spent his summers with his uncle, Sir Graham Greene, at Harston House in Cambridgeshire.

    In 1910, Graham Greene’s father Charles Greene succeeded Dr Fry as headmaster of Berkhamsted School. Graham also attended the school as a boarder. Bullied and profoundly depressed, he made several suicide attempts, that he even wrote in his autobiography, by trying the Russian Roulette (a practice of loading a bullet into one chamber of a revolver, spinning the cylinder, and then pulling the trigger while pointing the gun at one’s own head) and also by taking aspirin before going swimming in the school pool. In 1920, at the age of 16, he was sent for psychoanalysis for six months in London, after which he returned to school as a day scholar. His school friends included British journalist Claud Cockburn and Peter Quennel the historian.

    In 1922, Greene was for a short time a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, and sought an invitation to the new Soviet Union, of which nothing came through. 

    Since Greene suffered from periodic bouts of depression while at Oxford, he largely kept to himself. His contemporary in Oxford, Evelyn Waugh noted that: “Graham Greene looked down upon us (and perhaps all undergraduates) as childish and ostentatious. He certainly shared in none of our revelry. He graduated in 1925 with a second-class degree in history.

    After leaving Oxford, Greene worked for a period of time as a private tutor and then turned to journalism—first in Nottingham Journal, and then as a sub-editor in The Times. While he was working in Nottingham, he started corresponding with Vivien Dayrell-Browning, who had written to him to correct him on a point of Catholic doctrine. Greene was agnostic at the time, but later when he began to think of marrying Vivien he started associating himself with Catholic faith.  Greene was baptised on 26 February 1926. They married on 15 October 1927 at St Mary’s Church, Hampstead, in North London.

    Greene’s first published novel was The Man Within in 1929. Favourable response emboldened him to quit his sub-editor’s job in The Times and work as a full-time novelist. The next two books, The Name of Action (1930) and Rumour at Nightfall (1932), were unsuccessful. He later disowned them. His first true success was Stamboul Train (1932) which was taken over by the Book Society and adapted as the film Orient Express, in 1934.

    He supplemented his novelist’s income with freelance journalism, book and film reviews for The Spectator, and co-editing magazine Night and Day. Greene’s 1937 film review of Wee Willie Winkie, for Night and Day—which said that the nine-year-old star, Shirley Temple, displayed “a dubious coquetry” that appealed to “middle-aged men and clergymen”—provoked Twentieth Century Fox successfully to sue Greene for £3,500 plus costs, and Greene leaving the UK to live in Mexico until after the trial was over. While in Mexico, Greene developed the ideas for his novel often considered his masterpiece, The Power and the Glory. By the 1950s, Greene had become known as one of the finest writers of his generation.

    As his career lengthened, both Greene and his readers found the distinction between entertainments and novels increasingly problematic. The last book of his oeuvre that Greene termed an entertainment was Our Man in Havana in 1958.

    Greene also wrote short stories and plays, which were well received, though he was known first and foremost as a novelist. His first play, The Living Room, debuted in 1953.

    Michael Korda, a lifelong friend of Greene and later his editor at Simon & Schuster, once observed Greene at work: Greene wrote in a small black leather notebook with a black fountain pen and would write approximately 500 words. Korda described this as Graham’s daily penance—once he finished, he would put the notebook away, for the rest of the day.

    His writing influences included Conrad, Ford, Haggard, Stevenson, James, Proust, Buchan and Peguy.

TRAVEL & ESPIONAGE

    Greene travelled far from England, to what he called the world’s wild and remote places. The travels led to his being recruited into MI6 by his sister, Elisabeth, who worked for the agency. Accordingly, he was posted to Sierra Leone during the Second World War. Kim Philby, who was later revealed as a Soviet agent, was Greene’s supervisor and friend at MI6. Greene later wrote an introduction for Philby’s 1968 memoir, My Silent War. As a novelist Greene wove the characters he met and the places where he lived into the fabric of his novels.

    Greene first left Europe at the age of 30 in 1935 on a trip to Liberia that produced the travel book, Journey Without Maps. His 1938 trip to Mexico to see the effects of the government’s campaign of forced anti-Catholic secularisation was paid for by the publishing company Longman, thanks to his friendship with Tom Burns. That voyage produced two books, The Lawless Roads (published as ‘Another Mexico’ in the U.S.) and the novel The Power and the Glory. In 1953, the Holy Office informed Greene that The Power and the Glory was damaging to the reputation of the priesthood, but later, in a private audience with Greene, Pope Paul VI told him that, although parts of his novels would offend some Catholics, he should ignore the criticism.

    Greene first travelled to Haiti in 1954, where his novel The Comedians (1966) is set, which was then under the rule of dictator Francois Duvalier, known as “Papa Doc”, frequently staying at the Hotel Oloffson in Port-au-Prince. And, in the late 1950s, as inspiration for his novel, A Burnt-Out Case (published in 1960), Greene spent time travelling around Africa visiting a number of leper colonies in the Congo Basin, and in, what were then, the British Cameroons. During this trip in late February and early March 1959, he met Andree de Jongh several times, a Belgian, resistance fighter, responsible for establishing an escape route for downed airmen from Belgium to the Pyrenees, somewhere between Spain and France.

    In 1957, just months after Fidel Castro began his final revolutionary assault on the Batista Regime in Cubs, Greene played a small role in helping the revolutionaries, as a secret courier transporting warm clothing for Castro’s rebels hiding in the hills during the Cuban winter. Greene was said to have a fascination with strong leaders, which may have accounted for his interest in Castro, whom he later met. After one visit Castro gave Greene a painting he had done, which hung in the living room of the French house where the author spent the last years of his life. Greene did later voice doubts about Castro’s Cuba, telling a French interviewer in 1983, “I admire him for his courage and his efficiency, but I question his authoritarianism,” adding: “All successful revolutions, however idealistic, probably betray themselves in time.”

    After falling victim to a financial swindler, Greene chose to leave Britain in 1966, moving to Antibes in France, to be close to Yvonne Cloetta, whom he had known since 1959, a relationship that endured until his death. In 1973, he had an uncredited cameo appearance as an insurance company representative in Francois Truffaut’s film, Day for Night. In 1981, Greene was awarded the Jerusalem Prize, generally awarded to writers concerned with the freedom of the individual in society.

    In the last years of his life he lived in Vevey, on Lake Geneva in Switzerland, the same town where Charlie Chaplin was living, at this time. He visited Chaplin often, and the two were good friends. His book Doctor Fischer of Geneva or the Bomb Party (published in 1980) is based on themes of combined philosophical and geographical influences. He ceased going to mass and confession in the 1950s, but in his final years he began to receive the sacraments again from Father Leopoldo Durán, a Spanish priest, who became a friend.

    In one of his final works, a pamphlet titled J’Accuse (which means a strong denunciation): The Dark Side of Nice (1982), Greene wrote of a legal matter that embroiled him and his extended family in Nice, and declared that organised crime flourished in Nice because the city’s upper levels of civic government protected, judicial and police corruption. The accusation provoked a libel lawsuit that Greene lost. But he was vindicated after his death when, in 1994, the former mayor of Nice, Jacques Medecin, was imprisoned for corruption and associated crimes.

    In 1984, in celebration of his 80th birthday, the brewery which Greene’s great-grandfather founded in 1799 made a special edition of its ‘St. Edmunds’ ale for him, with a special label in his honour. 

    In 1986, Greene was awarded Britain’s Order of Merit. He died in 1991 at age 86 of leukaemia and was buried in Corseaux cemetery.

Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****