Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.
—Dwight D. Eisenhower's D-Day "in case of failure" speech, written June 5, 1944, and never delivered
Whether rousing activists, energizing voters, eulogizing the dead, inspiring graduates—or simply entertaining party guests (hello, Mark Twain!)—the seventy-five speeches featured in this "eclectic collection of orations deserving of a wider audience"
are not to be missed. Selections include Malala Yousafzai's 2013 speech to the United Nations youth assembly about the importance of education, Ryan White's 1988 testimony on living with AIDS, Sojourner Truth's blistering 1851 "the women are coming up"
monologue, Margaret Sanger's 1921 speech for the first American Birth Control Conference, Albert Einstein's 1940 World's Fair address honoring the scientific contributions of "immigrants, Negroes and American Indians,"
even Socrates's final speech (in 399 B.C.), delivered just before his execution by poison. Speeches of Note
is essential reading for historians, writers, and anyone else moved by the awesome power of language. (KG)