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This book was marked as essential reading for my politics and rhetoric course at university and I must say, for those who are completely new to the subject or generally interested in rhetoric in every day life, this really is an 'essential' text. It is easy to read, doesn't bog you down in academic studies or complex sentences and has added elements of surprise and humour which will certainly keep you entertained, as well as informed.
Leith succeeds in making literary devices seem interesting, rather than drab or boring and rather than just listing devices and defining them, he provides examples from advertising, politics, english literature to help him illustrate the devices. In addition to this, he will explain to you the meaning and intended or unintended effects of these devices, helping you to secure real understanding of often complex material.
Leith effectively documents the history of rhetoric, delving into its ancient origins and masters; Aristotle, Cicero and Quintillian and the theories and tools they provided for our modern day speechwriters and orators. This isn't narrative at all and by no means a history lesson, but rather a clear analysis of the journey of rhetoric from its early formation and usage and how it is relevant today. Despite being an 'ancient' art, the pillars of rhetoric are very much alive in modern society and in our every day conversations and debates. Leith helps you explore this effectively and provides you the knowledge to recognise the basic structure of argument and persuasion and how to win over audiences.
The book has its own appendices and a glossary for you to consult as and when you crop up against a term you're not sure about and provides a very useful bibliography for those who want to extend their knowledge.
Ethos, Logos, and Pathos? The difference between hyperbole and meiosis? Exigency, Epistrophe, Enargeia? This book covers all bases and provides the perfect place to begin, refresh or simply enjoy the field of Rhetoric and its discreet prominence.