President's Speech

The Stories behind the Most Memorable Presidential Addresses


Book Description

With vivid insight and rousing examples, The President’s Speech takes apart America’s most important presidential addresses, phrase by phrase, and examines the pivotal, often familiar, and always potent language that presidents past used to mold public opinion.

Author and speechwriter Edwin Vilade provides the framework for each speech, both within the context of its era and also as a point on a timeline of our country’s long history. Starting at George Washington’s Farewell Address and ending with George W. Bush’s Axis of Evil State of the Union speech, Vilade reveals the varied and often conflicting points of view that shaped the final famous words.

Color facsimiles show actual edits, deletions, additions, and handwritten notes to illustrate how remarkable and forceful language was crafted, sometimes at the last minute, into enduring words made famous by their timing, context, delivery, and power, from the 1823 Monroe Doctrine to Ronald Reagan’s “tear down that wall, Mr. Gorbachev” speech at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, revealing political and social currents that frame these words for modern times.

About Vilade, C. Edwin

Charles Edwin (Ed) Vilade is an author, speechwriter and communications consultant who has written for two U.S. Presidents, two Vice Presidents, numerous Cabinet officials, heads of multinational corporations and other public figures. Born in England, he was raised in the United States and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Communications from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master’s degree in Speech Communication from Syracuse University, specializing in the study of rhetoric.

Vilade began his career as a sportswriter and later was an editorial writer and news editor on daily newspapers.  He became an editor of energy magazines before joining the U.S. government in 1974.  He served in communications positions with government energy organizations and also at the White House during the Ford and Carter administrations.  In 1977, he helped to organize the communications function for the U.S. Department of Energy when it was formed, later serving as special assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Energy and as director of media relations before becoming chief speechwriter.  During the energy crises of the 1970s, he wrote the government-wide emergency communications plans for use during an oil embargo, and in the event of imposition of nationwide gasoline rationing.  

His other government posts included special assistant for communications to the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade and speechwriter for the Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Between periods of government appointment, Vilade was variously executive writer, director of executive communications and manager of public policy issues for several of the largest energy companies in the U.S.  For the past 15 years, he has headed his own communications firm, with an international clientele.  He is the author of many published articles on subjects such as energy, environment, international trade and finance.  He also has written and lectured extensively on rhetoric and communication techniques.

Vilade resides in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife.