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  1. #1
    Compound Fracture Compound Fracture is offline

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    "Great Irish Speeches" - Richard Aldous

    I have to say I was very disappointed by this book. In many ways it is nothing more than a money-making puff-piece, with a few nice photographs. I have several complaints:

    1) Massacre of good speeches
    I had expected this to be like other compendiums of notable speeches, but this differed hugely in that all the speeches contained therein were MASSIVELY abridged. For example, Mary Robinson's inauguration speech - crammed into a page and a half. Like her or loathe her, it was an extraordinary speech, and it was an insult to cut it down so much and jam it into such a short space

    2) Too much waffle and commentary (in some cases there is almost as much of this as there is speech itself)

    3) Enormous photographs
    What was the point of having full-page photographs to introduce the person? This struck me as purely an exercise in filling up space and making the book longer

    4) Some of the speeches included are totally unremarkable, and others are of limited historical note.
    For example, what on earth was Ahern's speech to the Commons doing there? And "Ansbacher man"?
    Richard Aldous himself has said that several great speeches were cut, due to constraints on space - such as some of James Dillon's greats.

    Coming from the Head of History at UCD, this is a shocking admission

    Overall, very disappointed by this book. (Oh, and I had the thing read in a single afternoon. Generally you want a bit more from a book)
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  2. #2
    Rapisco Rapisco is offline
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    On similar note, would you be able to give me a link to Mary Robinsons inauguration speech???

    I would be grateful.

    R
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  3. #3
    DOD DOD is offline

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    I got this book as a christmas present.

    I don't think it's bad. While not normally a fan of Richard Aldous, I feel what you described as waffle was important to contextualise the speeches.

    The biggest shortfall with it was that out of necessity it had to be padded with speeches that weren't really worthy.

    Great speeches in Ireland are few and far between, so he had to include a lot of pap and pass them off as great speeches.

    I was disappointed that nothing was included by James Connolly.

    What surprised me is that Aldous, who I always thought of as a cheerleader for British Imperialism (see the way he sallivates over Tony Blair and the War in iraq) actually seemed to have some sympathy for what he saw as 'moderate nationalism'.
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  4. #4
    Kf Kf is offline

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    Got it too as a gift. Very dissapointing, its likes a kids book. I was surprised that the middle pages didn't pop up.
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  5. #5
    Respvblica Respvblica is offline

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    Got it too. Its not great(two speeches for Bertie, one for Parnell?!)
    Best parts are the early speeches(Grattan, Emmet, O'Connell etc). Somehow the modern politicians dont seem to measure up to those greats.
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  6. #6
    Nem Nem is offline

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    Yeah, I remember reading a review in the Irish Times that wasn't very fond of it either. But that's the way with mainstream history these days. His book on Gladstone and Disraeli is very good though. It probably is where his forte lies.
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  7. #7
    farnaby farnaby is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Respvblica
    Best parts are the early speeches(Grattan, Emmet, O'Connell etc). Somehow the modern politicians dont seem to measure up to those greats.
    The rise of formal logic -> the decline of rhetoric
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  8. #8
    DOD DOD is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Respvblica
    Got it too. Its not great(two speeches for Bertie, one for Parnell?!)
    Best parts are the early speeches(Grattan, Emmet, O'Connell etc). Somehow the modern politicians dont seem to measure up to those greats.
    Also Pearse and larkin, legendary speeches. I must say, I didn't read the Parnell or O' Connell speeches on principle. Two historical figures I despise.

    On the whole thing about bertie, I got a very real sense that the selections were based on historical importance rather than quality of the speech.
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  9. #9
    DOD DOD is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nem
    Yeah, I remember reading a review in the Irish Times that wasn't very fond of it either. But that's the way with mainstream history these days. His book on Gladstone and Disraeli is very good though. It probably is where his forte lies.
    This is a novelty reference book and I think that is all it was intended to be. Something you can refer too when having a Bulmers filled argument over who said what.
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  10. #10
    jerryp jerryp is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by DOD
    Quote Originally Posted by Respvblica
    Got it too. Its not great(two speeches for Bertie, one for Parnell?!)
    Best parts are the early speeches(Grattan, Emmet, O'Connell etc). Somehow the modern politicians dont seem to measure up to those greats.
    Also Pearse and larkin, legendary speeches. I must say, I didn't read the Parnell or O' Connell speeches on principle. Two historical figures I despise.

    On the whole thing about bertie, I got a very real sense that the selections were based on historical importance rather than quality of the speech.
    Nothing like an open mind !
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