Words Like Loaded Pistols

Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama


By Sam Leith

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$16.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around April 26, 2016. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

"An entertaining history of great oratory" and a primer to rhetoric's key techniques (The New Yorker).

Rhetoric gives our words the power to inspire. But it's not just for politicians: it's all around us, whether you're buttering up a key client or persuading your children to eat their vegetables. 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 argument from ancient Greece down to its many modern mutations. He introduces verbal villains from Hitler to Richard Nixon—and the three musketeers: ethos, pathos and logos. He explains how rhetoric works in speeches from Cicero to Obama, and pays tribute to the rhetorical brilliance of AC/DC's "Back In Black". Before you know it, you'll be confident in chiasmus and proud of your panegyrics— because rhetoric is useful, relevant, and absolutely nothing to be afraid of.
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On Sale
Apr 26, 2016
Page Count
336 pages
Basic Books

Sam Leith

About the Author

Sam Leith is the literary editor of the Spectator whose work has appeared in the Times, the Guardian, the TLS, and the New York Times, among other outlets. He is the author of several books, including Write to the Point: How to Be Clear, Correct, and Persuasive on the Page. He lives in London.

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