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Elements of Debating   By: (1885-1959)

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Elements of Debating by Leverett S. Lyon is an exemplary guide to the art of argumentation and persuasion. Lyon presents a comprehensive and concise explanation of the principles and techniques necessary for effective debating.

The book is divided into chapters that delve into various aspects of debating, making it easy for readers to navigate and comprehend the content. Lyon begins by clarifying the purpose of debating and highlights the importance of critical thinking and logical reasoning in constructing convincing arguments.

One of the strengths of this book lies in Lyon's ability to break down complex concepts into accessible terms. He explains the structure of an argument, the different types of arguments, and how to develop strong evidence. Additionally, he provides practical tips on organizing speeches, refuting opposing arguments, and delivering persuasive conclusions.

What sets this book apart is the inclusion of numerous real-life examples and exercises. These allow readers to apply the principles they have learned and further enhance their critical thinking skills. By practicing with Lyon's guidance, readers can gradually gain confidence in their debating abilities and become more effective communicators overall.

Furthermore, Lyon emphasizes the importance of ethics and respect in debating. He stresses the need to focus on issues rather than personal attacks, promoting a healthy and productive exchange of ideas. This emphasis on ethical engagement reflects Lyon's commitment to fostering a positive and constructive debating culture both inside and outside the classroom.

Although the book primarily targets beginners, it also offers valuable insights for experienced debaters looking to refine their skills. Lyon's explanations are clear and concise, ensuring that readers of all levels can grasp the content effortlessly.

However, it is worth noting that the book could benefit from further exploration of advanced debating techniques. While it successfully covers the fundamentals, some readers may crave a deeper dive into more intricate strategies and tactics.

Overall, Elements of Debating is an exceptional resource for anyone interested in honing their debating skills. Leverett S. Lyon's expertise shines through in his ability to present complex ideas in a digestible manner. Armed with the knowledge and techniques elucidated in this book, readers will undoubtedly become more proficient and confident debaters.

First Page:


A Manual for Use in High Schools and Academies



Head of the Department of Civic Science in the Joliet Township High School



This book pretends but little to originality in material. Its aim is to offer the old in a form that shall meet the needs of young students who are beginning work in debate. The effort has been made only to present the elements of forensic work so freed from technicality that they may be apparent to the student with the greatest possible economy of time and the least possible interpretation by the teacher.

It is hoped that the book may serve not only those schools where debating is a part of the regular course, but also those institutions where it is a supplement to the work in English or is encouraged as a "super curriculum" activity.

Although the general obligation to other writers is obvious, there is no specific indebtedness not elsewhere acknowledged, except to Mr. Arthur Edward Phillips, whose vital principle of "Reference to Experience" has, in a modified form, been made the test for evidence. It is my belief that the use of this principle, rather than the logical and technical forms of proof and evidence, will make the training of debate far more applicable in other forms of public speaking... Continue reading book >>

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