Words Like Loaded Pistols

Words Like Loaded Pistols

Rhetoric From Aristotle to Obama

Book - 2012
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Baker & Taylor
A lighthearted survey of the practice, teaching and regard of rhetoric cites its ubiquitous presence in virtually all aspects of life, tracing the art of persuasion as it has shaped various cultural arenas while revealing how inspirational language has been used by famous individuals throughout history.

Perseus Publishing
A hilariously entertaining exploration of how people have taught, practiced and thought about rhetoricthe art of persuasionfrom Aristotle to Obama.

Rhetoric is all around us. It’s what inspires armies, convicts criminals, and makes or breaks presidential candidates. And it isn’t just the preserve of politicians. It’s in the presentation to a key client, the half-time talk in the locker room, and the plea to your children to eat their vegetables. Rhetoric gives words power: it persuades and cajoles, inspires and bamboozles, thrills and misdirects. You have been using rhetoric yourself, all your life. After all, you know what a rhetorical question is, don’t you?
In Words Like Loaded Pistols, Sam Leith traces the art of persuasion, beginning in ancient Syracuse and taking us on detours as varied and fascinating as Elizabethan England, Milton’s Satanic realm, the Springfield of Abraham Lincoln and the Springfield of Homer Simpson. He explains how language has been used by the great heroes of rhetoric (such as Cicero and Martin Luther King Jr.), as well as some villains (like Adolf Hitler and Richard Nixon.)

Leith provides a primer to rhetoric’s key techniques. In Words Like Loaded Pistols, you’ll find out how to build your own memory-palace; you’ll be introduced to the Three Musketeers: Ethos, Pathos and Logos; and you’ll learn how to use chiasmus with confidence and occultation without thinking about it. Most importantly of all, you will discover that rhetoric is useful, relevant and absolutely nothing to be afraid of.

Book News
Leith, a British journalist and writer, offers a no-nonsense introduction to rhetoric for an intelligent, but non-academic audience. He uses both historical and contemporary, real and literary examples to present where western rhetoric comes from and how it has been taught/used over the ages; what the terms of rhetoric are; why different arguments work the way they do and why some arguments work while others don't. The aim of the book is to instill a practical awareness for rhetoric. He considers five parts of rhetoric--invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery--as well as three branches of oratory--deliberative, judicial, and epideictic rhetoric. Along the way he draws on great speeches and "champions of rhetoric," from Martin Luther King to Satan to Barack Obama to Hitler to Cicero. There is a glossary of rhetorical terms in the back. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

& Taylor

Cites rhetoric's ubiquitous presence in virtually all aspects of life, tracing the history of the art of persuasion while revealing how inspirational language has been used by famous individuals.

Publisher: New York : Basic Books, c2012
Description: viii, 312 p. : ill. ; 22 cm
ISBN: 9780465031054
Branch Call Number: 808.5 Lei
Additional Contributors: Leith, Sam. You talkin' to me


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Oct 13, 2017

I'd like to add to the scintillating debate of the previous commentators. I think it's an imperfect, but effective metaphor for the power of good rhetoric. Rhetoric in 2017 is often used in a pejorative sense, as in "empty rhetoric" or "bombastic rhetoric." British writer Sam Leith wants to reclaim the word and the proud tradition of rhetoric, which dates back to the ancient Greeks and was part of a classical education. He's a witty, informative, and breezy guide, even as he gets into the often obtuse vocabulary, like hendiadys and epiplexis. Let's make rhetoric great again.

Feb 11, 2016

Answer to below comment of 6675tap.
Dumbest thing is to have an unloaded weapon. Bad rhetoric and bad smarts is holding an unloaded weapon. This a trade joke in police work, public defenders, and court.
Knowledge equals bullets.
Foster, attorney, former cop.

Jul 27, 2015

If the words of good rhetoric are "Like Loaded Pistols", then what are the bullets?

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