Format Hardcover
Publication Date 10/15/14
ISBN 9781605986333
Trim Size / Pages 9.3 x 6.4 in / 464

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Give Me Liberty

Speakers and Speeches that Have Shaped America

Christopher L. Webber

Sure to become a classic of American oratorical history, ?Give Me Liberty reveals the enduring power of America's quest for a freer and more just society, and the context of the speeches and speakers—from Daniel Webster and Patrick Henry to Martin Luther King and Ronald Reagan—that gave voice to the struggle.  ?

"Give me liberty," demanded Patrick Henry, "or give me death!" Henry's words continue to echo in American history and that quote, and the speech it comes from, remains one of the two or three known to almost every American. The other speeches that have become part of our American collective consciousness all have one theme in common: liberty. These feats of oration seem to trace the evolution of America's definition of liberty, and who it applies to. But what exact is liberty?

It is a term open to a broad range of opinion, and questions about freedom arise daily in the news and in everyday life. Perhaps uniquely among the nations of the world, the United States traces its origins to groups and individuals who specifically wanted create something new. Webber's insightful Give Me Liberty looks at these great speeches and provides the historical context, focusing attention on particular individuals who summed up the issues of their own day in words that have never been forgotten. Webber gleans lessons from the past centuries that will allow us to continue to strive for the ideals of liberty in the 21st century.

Christopher L. Webber is the author of more than two dozen books, including ​American to the Backbone: The Life of James W. C. Pennington, The Fugitive Slave Who Became One of the First Black Abolitionists and Beyond Beowulf. A graduate of Princeton University and a priest of the Episcopal Church, Webber has served parishes in New York and Connecticut and has also written several hymns. Webber lives with his wife on an old farm in northwestern Connecticut.

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Endorsements & Reviews

“The most interesting part of the book is the way Webber traces the seeds of ideas, the sources and connections as they are repeated through the years. Engaging.” Kirkus Reviews
“A luminous portrait. Mr. Webber’s vivid account resurrects this astonishing figure, conveying all that he endured and achieved during America’s longest, most harrowing trial.” Praise for American to the Backbone The Wall Street Journal
“Looks to reignite the debate on the meanings of freedom and liberty by telling the stories of speeches throughout American history that address these notions. Will interest those seeking an introduction to American oratorical history or the changing meaning of liberty in American history.” Library Journal
“A thought-provoking foreword and intelligent epilogue bookend this examination of the stirring power of the spoken word.” American Way
“Spirited. Webber provides instructive biographical information and to-the-point historical context.” Publishers Weekly
“Pennington’s story is a remarkable one, illuminated by Webber’s meticulous research.” Booklist
“A perceptive analysis of speeches by noted men and women.” The Oklahoman
“A richly detailed, wide-ranging biography. Webber has produced an important book as well as insight in to the pre–Civil War free-black subculture.” Kirkus Reviews