The People Speak

Democracy is Not a Spectator Sport

Anthony Arnove & Colin Firth

The People Speak by Anthony Arnove, Colin Firth (Paperback ISBN 9780857864482) book cover

Available as Paperback, eBook

A powerful, inspiring and refreshing take on British history

‘The idea was simple - take the most impassioned speeches about the fight for what is right and bring them to life for a new generation’ COLIN FIRTH

The People Speak tells the story of Britain through the voices of the visionaries, dissenters, rebels and everyday folk who took on the Establishment and stood up for what they believed in. Here are their stories, letters, speeches and songs, from John Ball to Daniel Defoe; from Thomas Paine to Oscar Wilde; from the peasants’ revolts to the suffragists to the anti-war demonstrators of today. Spanning almost 1,000 years and over 150 individual voices, these are some of the most powerful words in our history.

Compiled by Academy Award-winning actor Colin Firth, influential writer Anthony Arnove and acclaimed historian David Horspool, The People Speak reminds us that history is not something gathering dust on a library shelf - and that democracy has never been a spectator sport.

“An extraordinary performance … a series of short, powerful, live pieces intended to remind audiences of the enduring power of politicised speech and … The end result is like a protest rally championing the act of protest itself”

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“Inspirational collection of famous speeches throughout British history”
absolutely West

“Thrilling stuff”
the Bookseller

“A lot of things have deeply affected me in this book”
Omid Djalili
daily Express

Anthony Arnove & Colin Firth

Colin Firth is a Bafta- and Academy Award-winning actor. His films include The English Patient, Fever Pitch, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Girl with a Pearl Earring, A Single Man and The King’s Speech. Alongside Anthony Arnove, he was instrumental in bringing a televised stage performance of The People Speak to the UK in 2010.
Anthony Arnove is the author of Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal, editor of Iraq Under Siege, Howard Zinn Speaks and The Essential Chomsky, and coauthor, with Howard Zinn, of Voices of a People’s History of the United States and Terrorism and War. He is the codirector of The People Speak with Chris Moore and Howard Zinn.
David Horspool is a historian and editor at the Times Literary Supplement. He is the author of two previous books: Why Alfred Burned the Cakes and The English Rebel: One Thousand Years of Trouble-making from the Normans to the Nineties. He writes for The Times, the Guardian, the Telegraph and the New York Times.

Rupert Everett performance

Colin Firth introduces The People Speak

Celia Imrie performance