THE STORIES BEHIND the WORDS THAT MAKE HISTORY
“Four Score and Seven Years Ago”
The Gettysburg Address as told by an eyewitness of the event
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”
Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s stirring call to courage
“Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You”
John F. Kennedy’s unforgettable inaugural address
“Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall”
Ronald Reagan’s demand for freedom for the people behind the Iron Curtain
Plus Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton on the speeches that influenced them most
- The voices of every U.S. president since Benjamin Harrison in 1889
- A reading of the first presidential speech ever, George Washington’s “American Experiment” address
- A reenactment of Abraham Lincoln’s incendiary “House Divided” speech
- Campaign recordings of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson
- FDR’s assertion that Americans have a “Rendezvous with Destiny”
- Dwight D. Eisenhower’s warning against the “Military-Industrial Complex”
- JFK proclaiming “Ich Bin Ein Berliner”
- Lyndon Johnson adopting the civil rights hymn “We Shall Overcome”
- Gerald Ford promising that “Our Long National Nightmare Is Over”
- Ronald Reagan consoling the nation after the space shuttle Challenger explosion
- George H. W. Bush’s call for a “Kinder and Gentler Nation”
- Bill Clinton speaking from the pulpit where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his final sermon
- George W. Bush’s ultimatum to Iraq and his promise to its people that “The Day of Your Liberation Is Near”
“All students of American history, indeed, all civic-minded Americans, will find a place on their bookshelves for My Fellow Americans.”
—Senator JOHN MCCAIN
“My Fellow Americans makes the voice of American presidents ring in our ears and makes us understand in a new way the nature of political leadership in this country.”
—ELENA KAGAN, Supreme Court Justice
“The best of presidential speeches, compiled by one of the finest presidential speechwriters.”
—DAVID FRUM, George W. Bush speechwriter, author of The Right Man
The history of the United States lives in the words of its presidents—words that heal, inspire, and sometimes divide a nation and the world. My Fellow Americans brings to life two centuries of American history as you read and hear the presidential speeches that defined our nation’s most dramatic moments.
My Fellow Americans presents, in text and on two audio CDs, more than forty of the greatest speeches from American presidents. Former White House chief speechwriter Michael Waldman introduces them, telling their dramatic stories and explaining their impact. In original essays, presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton describe the talks that influenced them the most. You’ll also find captivating photographs, illustrations, and handwritten manuscripts, including:
- Never-before-seen handwritten speech notes used by President Clinton
- The speech, announcing an attack on Cuba, that President Kennedy did not have to give during the Cuban Missile Crisis
- An actual photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg
- And much more…
The accompanying audio CDs let you hear these great speeches as they happened—some recordings are more than one hundred years old—and reenacted speeches from before the dawn of recorded audio. We hear the voices of every president since Benjamin Harrison. Experience some of our greatest moments, such as “The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself ”; “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You”; and “Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down this Wall.” Hear Lyndon Johnson adopt “We Shall Overcome” for all Americans; John F. Kennedy proclaim “Ich Bin Ein Berliner” at the Berlin Wall; and a fascinating account by a man who saw and heard President Lincoln deliver the Gettysburg Address.
My Fellow Americans presents a fascinating journey through American history that can be shared with your family and friends, whether you’re reliving the event or hearing it together for the first time.
“Reading [these speeches] and listening to those available from the late 1800s onward reveals the styles and strengths of each president and also the prevailing American outlook in times of war, peace, confidence, and anxiety.”
—JAMES FALLOWS, author and national correspondent, The Atlantic Monthly
“The grand panorama of American history unfolds through these presidential speeches, shrewdly selected and ably annotated by a veteran presidential speechwriter.”
--ARTHUR M. SCHLESINGER JR.
About the Author
MICHAEL WALDMAN was director of speechwriting for President Clinton from 1995–1999, after serving as special assistant to the president for policy coordination. He wrote or edited nearly two thousand presidential speeches, including two inaugural addresses and four states of the union. Waldman is the author of POTUS Speaks: Finding the Words That Defined the Clinton Presidency, A Return to Common Sense, and Who Robbed America? He is executive director of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, a leading law and policy institute that focuses on democracy and justice. He lives with his family in New York City.
About the Narrator
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS is co-host of Good Morning America and appears regularly on World News Tonight and other ABC News broadcasts. He is the former anchor of ABC’s Sunday morning program This Week with George Stephanopoulos. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller All Too Human. Prior to joining ABC News, he served in the Clinton administration as the senior advisor to the president for policy and strategy.