Words Like Loaded Pistols

Words Like Loaded Pistols

Rhetoric From Aristotle to Obama

Book - 2012
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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 whata 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.

Publisher: New York : Basic Books, 2012.
ISBN: 9780465031054
Branch Call Number: 808.5 Leith 04/2012
Characteristics: viii, 312 p. :,ill. ;,22 cm.
Alternative Title: 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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