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Talking History: 150 Years of Speakers and Speeches by Joan Haig and Joan Lennon

Title: Talking History: 150 Years of Speakers and Speeches

Author: Joan Haig and Joan Lennon

Genre: History/Non-Fiction

Publisher: Allen and Unwin

Published: 15th February 2022

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 80

Price: $29.99

Synopsis: 150 years of world-changing speeches

A contemporary introduction to speeches that have changed the world.

From Abraham Lincoln to Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Nelson Mandela to Greta Thunberg, people have used the power of speech to influence society for centuries. Great speeches have formed milestones in modern history, inspiring and engaging generations on important issues including war, women’s rights, climate change and civil rights, and helping to shape the world we live in.

Featuring 17 influential speeches from the past 150 years, Talking History explores the events leading up to each speech, how the spoken word was used to great effect, and the impact it had on the world, presented in graphic novel style to put the reader at the heart of the action. A book to inspire a new generation of thinkers and talkers.


Throughout history, many people – leaders, activists, and protesters have given notably powerful speeches about what they believe in, what they are fighting for, or to attempt to influence something, and at times, a combination of all three. Sometimes these speeches are a reflection on certain events or anniversaries, and the words can show the gravitas of what has happened – like the Gettysburg address of 1863. Short and to the point, Lincoln captured the mood and the senselessness of the war in a speech that was just over two minutes, and that illustrated the impact that the Civil War was having across America, though the war would not end for another two years. This is just one of the powerful speeches included in this book.

Joan Haig and Joan Lennon have created a fun and intriguing picture book about the speeches and speakers, with the speeches and information about the movements and activities behind the speeches from across the world and throughout history, from Emmeline Pankhurst to Nelson Mandela, to Barack Obama and Greta Thunberg, and many more whose speeches have helped inspire change or influenced people in many ways. It is a good book for older readers, for history, social sciences, or even English classes, with a focus on the history behind the oratorical offerings and gives insight into historical events – and a part of who these people are, and what they have meant to movements and society.

These speeches prove that anyone can have influence on society and what it means when you’re able to speak up and about an issue that you are passionate about. The speeches are mostly from people who have often been marginalised in society throughout history and show that there is power in using your voice. We may not all be able to give speeches like this, but we can all speak out in our own ways, and this book shows all readers what you can achieve when you do. A great educational tool!

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