A celebration of words, across time and countries

Book facts: Beyond the Words (A collection of famous Speeches and Writings) - by Ranjan Perera.
Reviewed by Shalomi Daniel

Speeches have won hearts and nations; incited strife and inspired peace. While some speeches are forgotten immediately some are quoted for centuries. The Bible comprehensively summarizes the power of words in the phrase “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

An orator expresses not only his views but reflects his character too via his speech and often many are remembered even centuries down the line for the words that they spoke. ‘Beyond the words’ by Ranjan Perera is a compilation of famous speeches and writings by many a renowned orator. “I believe this book would enrich the knowledge of its readers to a certain extent,” writes Mr. Perera in his introduction.

Beyond the Words’ was presented to President Mahinda Rajapaksa by Ranjan Perera at Temple Trees recently. Also in the picture are Religious Affairs Co-ordinator of the President Ven. Galagama Dammaransi Thera and Mrs. Nelum Perera.

The author who is an accountant by profession has held the post of Additional Finance Manager of the National Film Corporation and the Senior Management Accountant of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation. However, his interest in creative writing has prompted him to translate the ‘Aesop’s Fables’ series and ‘Biography of World’s Greatest People’ into Sinhala.

From Jesus Christ to Mahatma Gandhi from Albert Einstein to Chief Seattle, the book is enriched with words of wisdom spanning centuries, continents and religions and ethnicities.

Be it religious leaders or heads of state, scientists or musicians, the book includes a wide range of speeches by past and contemporary orators who have influenced society by their ability to shape their speeches to be ‘beyond the words.’

The reader listens to the call for unity and reconciliation as President Mahinda Rajapaksa addresses the nation, shares in the hopes of Martin Luther King as he fought valiantly for the rights of his people, celebrates the realization of those dreams as Barack Obama addresses the multitude as President of the USA and jointly pleads for the preservation of nature with Chief Seattle.

Speeches and writings of people from various walks of life are included in this book along with a brief biography of the orators or writers.

The biographies which have been thoughtfully included to “portray the personality of the speakers” are concise and provide the readers with a better understanding and idea of the background of the speaker and the context of the speeches.

Meaningful poems and prose are also included at regular intervals. The book is a good reference book for intellectuals, speakers, journalists, politicians, writers, lecturers, teachers, students, researchers and others interested in history and current affairs.

Priced at Rs 350, the slim book holds within its pages the wisdom and spirit of many a famous person.

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