American Eloquence: Language and Leadership in the Twentieth Century

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Product Details
Columbia University Press
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.4 X 0.3 inches | 0.75 pounds

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About the Author
Roderick P. Hart holds the Shivers Chair in Communication and is professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a fellow of the International Communication Association, a distinguished scholar of the National Communication Association, and the recipient of the Murray Edelman Career Award from the American Political Science Association. Hart is the author or editor of eighteen books, including most recently Trump and Us: What He Says and Why People Listen (2020) and Civic Hope: How Ordinary Americans Keep Democracy Alive (2018).
This brilliant book was like taking a walk through US history with a good (and smart!) friend by my side. I was excited to see where many of my favorites, like Barbara Jordan, would land in Hart's assessment. I truly enjoyed reading this book and recommend it to all who care about our democracy and where it is going.--Terri Givens, author of Radical Empathy: Finding a Path to Bridging Racial Divides

In this eloquent analysis of eloquence, Roderick Hart pulls out all the stops to diagnose, to redeem, and even to measure. Eloquence can be unsafe and even illegal, but it can also save us. Itself a compendium of eloquent remarks by others (and the author), this book might be just what is needed as American democracy hangs in the balance.

--John Durham Peters, coauthor of Promiscuous Knowledge: Information, Image, and Other Truth Games in History
American Eloquence marshals Hart's decades of experience as a rhetorical critic, bolstered by the calculative capacity of the digital humanities, to illustrate why "eloquence is an abiding human need." Readers will find his Eloquence Index stimulating, and the author's rapid-fire wit should keep everyone engaged.--Celeste Michelle Condit, author of Angry Public Rhetorics: Global Relations and Emotion in the Wake of 9/11
Democracy at once depends upon eloquence and treats eloquence suspiciously. The label can serve as praise, as denigration, even as a backhanded compliment or a self-own. Using a remarkable range of method, American Eloquence presents a compelling, sophisticated, and approachable account of what makes eloquence work and how it animates political discourse in the United States.--Andrew Perrin, author of American Democracy: From Tocqueville to Town Halls to Twitter
One of our most adroit scholars of American political speech, Rod Hart wrests eloquence from all its contradictions--from its power to inspire the better angels of our nation to the dangers of disinformation, demonization and demagoguery. American Eloquence is thought provoking, fun, nostalgic, sometimes scary but always bracing.--Charlton McIlwain, author of Black Software: The Internet & Racial Justice, from the AfroNet to Black Lives Matter