Je n'aime pas dans les vieux films américains quand les conducteurs ne regardent pas la route. Et de ratage en ratage, on s'habitue à ne jamais dépasser le stade du brouillon. La vie n'est que l'interminable répétition d'une représentation qui n'aura jamais lieu.

Podcasts: Great Speeches in History

Great Speeches in History


Category: History

What It Is

Recordings & dramatic readings of famous speeches.

Technical Details

The recording quality isn’t always the best because the show features speeches from the sixties and onwards and so the recording technology obviously causes fluctuations in quality over the years.  Episodes run, typically, ten to twenty minutes.  The show hasn’t posted anything new in three years, but the entire archive, of sixteen speeches, can still be found at their webpage

What About It

I have a troubled relationship with  They tend to have good ideas for podcasts, but kind of fumble the execution.  I kind of feel like that about this one, but it isn’t exactly crippling.  When the speeches are of the modern variety, they offer the original recordings, so you get some genuinely compelling recordings of such significant speeches as Eisenhower’s famous Farewell Address (which just falls on the ear more and more like a tragic prophecy as the years roll on) or RFK’s speech on the death of MLK or even, going very modern, Obama’s 2004 address at the DNC.  The really interesting idea is the inclusion of speeches from earlier in history, like Washington’s farewell address.  But they don’t get very good readings of those speeches; the performers aren’t engaging at all.  So, the actual recorded speeches are typically quite good, but it keeps the show from doing what I wish it could do and really go back and look at older speeches in a compelling way.  Too bad; it’s a great idea that only succeeds sporadically. 

2 ½ stars.

Essential If

You have a dream.

Avoid Like the Plague If

The fact that a speech by Obama was included in this podcast fills you with a deep and ferocious rage. 

Best Entry Point

It would be super easy to go the traditional route and tell you to listen to the I Have a Dream speech which is presented here as the original recording in its entirety.  But you’ve probably heard that one.  You may not have heard, however, Eisenhower’s Farewell Address and it’s an essential listen.  The light that it continues to shed on our current political and economic realities is quite amazing. 

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