©2003 Melvyn Bragg; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
"Both entertaining and informative." (Booklist)
"This 'biography' succeeds in its broad, sweeping narrative." (Publishers Weekly)
l'enfer c'est les autres
This book is not just for lovers of words (of which I am not), but it has a great history of the English speaking peoples interwoven with it, and that will be enough to keep non-word lovers like me completely interested.
Yes, the reading does get off to a slow start, but don't stop there. The ponderous listing of words at the outset is well overbalanced by the gloriously entertaining volume of information about the evolution and spread and variation of the English language from early to present day, from England outward. If you have any curiosity about the language, you will certainly be spell-bound by the writing and--especially--the reading of this book. I think it will bear many hearings, my marque of a good book, particularly a good audio-book.
Wonderful, fascinating, enlightening. Brilliantly read. A few boring parts (to my mind) that required wading through, but this is in my personal audible download hall of fame.
College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
Goes far beyond the usual textbook renderings to bring the history of the language alive
I loved it. The author moves the story along at a fairly quick pace, with lots of entertaining details along the way. Pretty fascinating, I thought. The narrator is A+
I enjoyed this book. It is sometime quite complex with all examples and names, forcing you to rewind many times in order to be able to follow it and not lose track completely. It creates a good balance between the scholarly and the popular.
Althought I still have an hour or two left,I am confident this book will continue to be great. I thought this would be a good book to fall asleep to but it acually holds my interest quite well. French ,Latin, Greek and other languages English has borrowed words from are all covered. The narrator as stated keeps the interest high with lively reading.
I learned much from this book and, as other reviewers have pointed out, it is very well written and read. However, I must confess that it was a chore for me to get through. The lists of words often went on and on and would definitely work better in written form than in audio. While driving I often had to switch to the radio to keep from falling asleep.
If you have a serious interest in language and etymology, this is a must read. For the rest of us, it's a bit like homework that you know you should do, but don't always look forward to with glee.
I loved this book - not only as a history of the English language but of England and the British Empire. And it shows how closely tied we are to our past - even in our choice of words. The narrator did a great job - although there were some glaring mispronunciations of a few Australian words.
The reader for this fascinating book, Robert Powell, is to be lauded, admired, and praised for his Herculean effort, and success with this challenging text. It cannot have been easy to read a book so heavily imbued with Old English, Norse, French, Latin, Middle English, smatterings of German, and, worst of all, lists. Tis a rare fellow who can make a list of 50 odd words go by so smoothly. (As you may be able to tell, my many hours of delightful listening to this work has elevated my lowly Midwestern American patois beyond its normal ken. Any mistakes are entirely the fault of the author.)
Anyhow, this is a way fun book, and the narration is totally awesome. :)
"Erudite - but long"
Written to Melvyn Bragg's usual high standard and extreamly well read by Robert Powel. Unfortunately the long lists of examples became tedious and if it had been a book I would have skipped through many of them.
Save this one for long days on the beach - not a commute.
If you are an english speaker you owe it to yourself to hear this gripping tale of a swashbuckling language and it's rise to dominance.
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