Wednesday, September 12, 2012

13 books on political speaking that are for, by or about women

It's an election year in the U.S., with plenty of women running for local, state and national elective office, and women's issues front and center for both campaigns. Time to update your bookshelf of political rhetoric to make sure it includes plenty of resources on and examples of women's political speeches. I've got a comprehensive list of historic lookbacks and contemporary books to get you ready, whether you aspire to public office, want to write the speeches, or just get inspired:
  1. Almost Madam President: Why Hillary Clinton 'Won' in 2008 looks at Clinton's run for president through the lens of her speeches, from her YouTube candidacy announcement through the debates and stump speeches. Clinton's concession speech and her "women's rights are human rights" United Nations speech are both part of The Eloquent Woman Index.
  2. Elizabeth Hanford Dole: Speaking from the Heart looks at the public speaking of a political woman who was among the first to walk into the audience and adopt a more informal speaking style.
  3. Eloquence in an Electronic Age: The Transformation of Political Speechmaking is a classic by Kathleen Hall Jamieson. It looks in particular at the vice presidential debates when George H.W. Bush was running against Geraldine Ferraro to compare male and female political debate styles. You'll find especially useful her chapter on women and public speaking, an essential piece of reading if you want to understand why Jamieson says, "History has many themes. One of them is that women should be silent."
  4. Maria W. Stewart, America's First Black Woman Political Writer: Essays and Speeches tells the tale of a political writer and speaker--the first black American to lecture in defense of women's rights, who did that in the early 19th century. Yes, the 19th century.
  5. Michelle Obama: Speeches on Life, Love, and American Values collects the speeches of the current First Lady of the U.S., up to early 2012.
  6. From Megaphones to Microphones: Speeches of American Women, 1920-1960 looks at the period in between U.S. women getting the vote and the "women's movement" of the 1970s, often overlooked, but rich with examples of notable women speakers.
  7. The Speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer: To Tell It Like It Is collects the passionate words of this political and civil rights activist. (You'll see more about her in a Famous Speech Friday coming soon.)
  8. Two books, A Private Woman in Public Spaces: Barbara Jordan's Speeches on Ethics, Public Religion, and Law and Barbara Jordan: Speaking the Truth with Eloquent Thunder, focus on the rich public speaking career of this ground-breaking African-American Congresswoman, whose words and voice made her among the top political speakers of all time. Jordan's ground-breaking Democratic National Convention keynote is part of The Eloquent Woman Index.
  9. The Collected Speeches of Margaret Thatcher is a rarity--so the price is high. She stands as a great political orator, so you may want this for a reference shelf that many can share.
  10. With Pen and Voice: A Critical Anthology of Nineteenth-Century African-American Women, the only collection of 19th-century black American women's speeches, focuses on a collection of brave voices, from Ida B. Wells and Sojourner Truth to lesser-known voices.
  11. Why Women Should Rule the World by former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers offers the perspective of a woman whose work involves highly visible and often extemporaneous public speaking in politics.
  12. Unbought and Unbossed: Expanded 40th Anniversary Edition celebrates Shirley Chisholm, a groundbreaker as an African-American member of Congress who also ran for president. Her fiery speaking style is analyzed by today's political observers in this anniversary edition.