What has happened to the 'art' of speech-writing and speech making? Where are the men and women whose words set the heart racing with passion, turn battles, inspire populations to extraordinary endeavour: 'Ask not what your country can do for you.' 'We shall fight on the beaches.' 'I have a dream.' 'The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.'
Quote these words today and they still have the power to stop us in our tracks.
This is a book that should be required reading, a book that should be on every bookshelf in the country.
Here are fourteen key speeches of the 20th century introduced by prominent figures ranging from F.W. de Klerk and Mikhail Gorbachev to Antony Beevor and Gordon Brown.
Winston Churchill: We shall fight on the beaches. Introduced by Simon Schama
J.F. Kennedy: Ask not what your country can do for you. Introduced by Kennedy's speech writer Ted Sorensen
Nelson Mandela: An ideal for which I am prepared to die. Introduced by F.W. de Klerk
Harold Macmillan: No going back. Introduced by Douglas Hurd
Franklin D. Roosevelt: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Introduced by Gordon Brown
Nikita Khrushchev: The cult of the individual. Introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev
Emmeline Pankhurst: Freedom or death. Introduced by Germaine Greer
Martin Luther King: I have a dream. Introduced by Gary Younge
Charles de Gaulle: The flame of French resistance. Introduced by Antony Beevor
Margaret Thatcher: The lady's not for turning. Introduced by Simon Jenkins
Jawaharlal Nehru: A tryst with destiny. Introduced by Ian Jack
Aneurin Bevan: Weapons for squalid and trivial ends. Introduced by Tam Dalyell
Earl Spencer: The most hunted person of the modern age. Introduced by Beryl Bainbridge
Virginia Woolf: Shakespeare's sister. Introduced by Kate Mosse