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Bill Bryson's "Informal History of the English Language in the United States" is, in a word, fascinating. After reading this tour de force, it's clear that a nation's language speaks volumes about its true character: you are what you speak. Bryson traces America's history through the language of the time, then goes on to discuss words culled from everyday activities: immigration, eating, shopping, advertising, going to the movies, and others.
Made in America will supply you with interesting facts and cocktail chatter for a year or more. Did you know, for example, that Teddy Roosevelt's "speak softly and carry a big stick" credo has its roots in a West African proverb? Or that actor Walter Matthau's given name is Walter Mattaschanskayasky? Or that the supposedly frigid Puritans--who called themselves "Saints," by the way--had something called a pre-contract, which was a license for premarital sex? Made in America is an excellent discussion of American English, but what makes the book such a treasure is that it offers much, much more.Review:
"A treat ... filled with surprises ... a literate exploration ofwhy we use -- or mangle-our native tongue."-- "USA Today""Plain fun ... a terrific book, likely to make its readerschuckle if not guffaw ... Bryson manages to demolish somecherished American myths ... If more high schools used thisas their history text, the course might be one of the morepopular ones in school."-- "Denver Post""Romping through history and folk customs, Bill Bryson hascompiled a highly entertaining book about the growth ofAmerican English ... Enjoy it, learn from it, laugh at thefoibles of our peculiar tongue."-- "Atlanta Journal and Constitution""A wonderfully entertaining and informative history ofAmerican English, of how it and the country and its peopledeveloped ... Bryson captured me easily within the first 20pages of his engaging, information-packed book."-- "Des Moines Register""A treasure trove of trivia about American culturepast and present."-- "Publishers Weekly""Read this lively treatment of the development of American English . . . this book is no lemon--It's a peach!"-- "People"From slavery, immigration and Westward expansion to advertising, sex and shopping malls, he provides scads of fascinating, often little-known facts and anecdotes that, far from glutting his reader's appetites, should leave them hungry for more."-- "Wall Street Journal"Delightful . . . relentlessly, exuberantly informative . . . a potted history of the United States, presenting aspects of American life from cooking to swearing, from warring to shopping."-- "Washington Post Book World
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Book Description Condition: New. Bruce McCall (illustrator). New. Seller Inventory # Q-074939739X