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Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’ volume of speeches (1891)—“chance utterances of faith and doubt”—is no longer available in any edition. Here, these early pieces are rediscovered, together with all of Holmes’ occasional addresses not included in previous editions of the Speeches.
“One of the prices which a man pays for his greatness,” Mark DeWolfe Howe says in his Foreword, “is that his every word, spoken in public, becomes a matter of legitimate public interest.” The sequence, extending from 1880 to 1931, includes the Justice’s powerful Memorial Day addresses, his gentle, moving personal tributes, his more intimate remarks at dinners and reunions, and ends with his famous radio address to the nation, “The Race Is Over.” On war, scholarship, the law, or the streets of Boston, Holmes is invariably moving and witty.