Who Said It? Words of the Influential in New Books

We're fortunate to have pouring through our office here at Book World a steady flow of new books highlighting the exploits of influential figures, past and present. Some are written by these very same people, hoping to convey their contributions or ideas in words of their own choice (or those of their ghostwriters). Other books are the work of historians, journalists or participants in history, seeking to place their chosen personage in an appropriate context.

In a Book World blog first, here we present the words of some important people and ask you, Who said them?

We invite you to note your answers in the comments sections, and we'll post the correct answers next week.

Here are the speakers:

Henry Waxman
Harry Truman
Bill Frist
Jackie Kennedy
Newt Gingrich

And here are their words:

a) "Who wants to run for office if your reputation can so easily be twisted and sullied? Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are two of our most cherished rights in America, but it bothers me to this day that there is no accountability for those who make baseless accusations. As someone who worked diligently to recruit the best and brightest into elective politics, I know our nation is repeatedly robbed of excellent public servants and has fewer qualified, accomplished , noble men and women from whom to choose come election day as a result."

b) "I wish you were an amoeba, so you could multiply and there would be two or more of you."

c) "I've worked with people who do a terrible job, watched plenty of good legislation die, and experienced the grinding frustration of being stuck in the minority party for more than a decade. If anybody should be cynical about our government and how it works, I should. But I'm not. Because despite the setbacks and frustration, what Congress has achieved during my time has made clear to me that if you organize the right people, follow the facts, and force the issue, it is possible, and even likely, that good work can make a difference in the lives of millions of Americans - which, in the end, is a lawmaker's highest purpose."

d) "I am not interested in the politics of the situation., or what effect it will have on votes in the United States. I am interested in relieving a half million people of the most distressful situation that has happened in the world since A. Hitler made his invasion of Europe."

e) "'Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them: Britain has trembled like an ague at the report of a French fleet of flat bottomed boats; and in the fourteenth century the whole English army, after ravaging the kingdom of France, was driven back like men petrified with fear; and this brave exploit was performed by a few broken forces collected and headed by a woman, Joan of Arc. Would, that heaven might inspire some Jersey maid to spirit up her countrymen, and save her fair fellow sufferers from ravage and ravishment! Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows thro' them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain for ever undiscovered. In fact, they have the same effect on secret traitors, which an imaginary apparition would have upon a private murderer. They sift out the hidden thoughts of man, and hold them up in public to the world."

By Steven E. Levingston |  July 23, 2009; 5:30 AM ET
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I've never been any good at this kind of thing, but here goes:

Bill Frist = a
Jackie Kennedy = b
Henry Waxman = c
Harry Truman = d
Newt Gingrich = e

I fearfully await the answers. Oh well, didn't Orwell say something like 70% of life is humiliation anyway?

Posted by: lheffelkcrrcom | July 23, 2009 3:21 PM

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