This book contains a collection of extracts from speeches and writing related to war, and in particular speeches that were intended to inspire their audience (with a smattering of more thoughtful views of war from many of the same people).
There is a wide range of tone, from the cultured to the crude (I'm thinking of Patton..). One of the most impressive is also one of the most recent - Colonel Tim Collins' speech to his men before the invasion of Iraq of 2003. In some cases lengthy extracts are given, often from speeches with a famous section (Sherman's 'War is hell' is a good example). We thus get a fuller idea of what the author had in mind. In other cases Weldon has chosen several shorter extracts from a single person, giving an idea of their overall style.
The decision to include extracts from some of Hitler's speeches pays off. These are orations that did inspire their intended audience, even if many people outside Germany considered them to be deluded rants. The chance to compare Hitler's rant explaining his decision to declare war on the United States with Churchill's more measured prose is valuable. Churchill gets an entire chapter to himself, with some lengthy extracts from famous and less well known speeches. The longer text from the 'finest hour' speech is a worthwhile read.
The section of fictional quotes is an interesting inclusion. I'm not entirely sure that I agree with it, but it does rather prove that Shakespeare wrote some of the best battlefield speeches, especially for Henry V!
This is an interesting selection of speeches, some familiar, others less so, that provide a useful cross-section of inspirational words from across the ages.
Defiance - Against All Odds
The Foolhardy and the Humorous in the Face of Adversity
Leading from the Front - Inspirational Military Leaders
The Home Front - Political Leadership
Winston Churchill - The Great Wartime Orator
Wise Words - Thoughts and Comments on Warfare
The Pen is Mightier than the Sword - Warlike Words from Fiction
Lest We Forget - Last Words
Author: Anthony Weldon
Publisher: Bene Factum Publishing