©1994 Bill Bryson; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
"Bryson offers a playfully anecdotal account of the etymology of distinctive words and phrases that help to create a distinctly American English." (Publishers Weekly)
"A treat....Filled with surprises....A literate exploration of why we use, or mangle, our native tongue." (USA Today)
Having listened to Bill Bryson read his own works before, I was initially disappointed by the reading of William Roberts. However, further into the book, his impressions and characterised quotations brought the book to life and had me laughing out loud to the story! By the end, I wondered what I had ever been upset about and adored Roberts rendition. His accent and liveliness brought much needed drama to this very informally written, yet of a formal nature, text.
An avid language curiositist, I often ask,
Such interesting history behind how words come into existence. The book has so much information and research behind it.
Absorbing, entertaining and funny as Bill always is. No one else can pass on such interesting and detailed research as Bill does, while making you laugh the whole way. Highly recommended.
Lots of interesting facts about American language and inventions, assembled into a mostly chronological story. Not especially captivating, but well worth it for all the learnings.
Excellent, engaging listen with a fantastic narrator. If you are interested in the American language or just a Bryson fan, well worth the price.
Started out enjoyable, but then.... A letter written to Lincoln that uses the Lord's name in vain over and over. Then a whole chapter of inappropriate, swearing town names. Couldn't take any more. It's been in my library unread for too long, now I wish I'd listened sooner so I could return it. Do not recommend. There are more uplifting books out there.
Not Bill Bryson any more.
He read very well! I was impressed with his pronunciation of French, Native American, and other non-English words. His pronunciation and accents for different time periods was also well done.
At first, I was interested, then disgusted and offended by the choice of material.
With so much material why do writers feel that they must bring out all the filth?
Although the book has been written in true Bryson style, which supports the reason I downloaded it, the narrator misses the mark. Unfortunately, I had grown used to B.B. presenting his own material and in many ways the voice inflection and context were lost to, well, basic reading aloud. I will be more cautious to research the narrator in the future.
The narrator. William Roberts may be a good narrator for something else, but Bryson's voice and intonation make his books.
It made me want to return the book.
Change your return policy back to being able to return any book.
Listening to Bill Bryson is to take a trip to a side trip to a tangent. It seems like even he doesn't know where he's going, until he gets there, which he eventually does. This performance is better than Bryson himself, so points for that. The material, however, seems recycled in places from previous Bryson books. Not that there's anything wrong with that, because it's all delightful.
I'm a Stranger Here Myself. Bill Bryson can make the most mundane facts interesting. His books are the best way to learn History and Geography painlessly.
The performance was ok, but it lacked Bryson's charm. Maybe it was a regional thing, but a lot of common English words were pronounced strangely. This is one of my pet peeves. If you are not sure how the word is pronounced, look it up.
Quite a few giggles.
As with all Bill Bryson, he does not just take you, in this case on an adventure of the formation of language in America, but brushes on the expansive history of America and the world, yet does not drift into irrelevancy. His ridiculously well written book gives you the history of 1,000's of words and cleverly places them into a relevant context.
My *only* complaint is that when the reader, (who reads fantastically) spells words out, I find it rather hard to keep up, the book obviously being primarily written for print. However this is infrequent and I suggest that this is based on my own faults, and should not stop you from buying this fantastic book.
"A history of America through its language"
As a native Brit I wondered how interesting a book about American English would be to me. I was also rather concerned about the scope of this book - how on Earth could Bill Bryson fill such a long time with what seemed like such a limited topic?
My concerns on both counts were unfounded. It turns out that most of the Americanisms that Bill Bryson covers in his book are so embedded in British English now that we don't even think of them as Americanisms any more. Interestingly it also works in reverse - many things we think of as Americanisms actually started out in Britain!
On the second count, Bill Bryson does far more than just list words that are Americanisms and research their origins. He puts them in their cultural context, and indeed in some ways this book is more of a history of America told through the development of its language. Indeed, at some points the link between the topic being covered and the development of American English is distant to say the least.
Despite its considerable length, this book kept my interest throughout. The only issue I can really highlight is that it does get a bit confusing sometimes when words are being spelt out, but this happens only occasionally and is not a serious issue. Apart from this, the narration is brilliant and adds to what is already an excellent book.
All in all, a highly recommended book.
"One of the poorer Bryson books"
I enjoyed this book but it was very annoying in places with constant lists of words but even more tedious was listening to lists of individual words being spelt out. The facts in the book were vaguely interesting but not so interesting that you would bother relaying the fact to anyone else or bringing it up in conversation. Overall a bland book, wellr esearched but not a page turner.
Anyone who loves language and fancies themselves an arm-chair historian will absolutely love this book. Wonderfully read by William Roberts. Download it NOW!
Bill Bryson is a first-rate story teller, bringing history to life with rich insights and perspective. Also, it should be noted that William Roberts's narration is so good that you don't notice it's there and I say that as the highest compliment.
"No more questions left."
As with all Bill Bryson's books I find myself waiting on tender hooks for the next mind blowing lesson. I'm sure everyone out there in listensville will learn more in a chapter about the way our cousins across the pond live and think than if you watched any ANY TV from the past 50 years. I am i awe of this great author. Especially when Bill still considers 50 cents a good tip.
"A mind numbing snorefest"
After 3 hours of listening to the admirable narrator pronouncing a series of words and then pronouncing them slightly differently I gave up on the promises made by other reviewers of fascinating history of the US and put this one down to experience. If its a broad survey of US history you are after then try the Empire of Liberty series. However, if its 20 hours of how the early pilgrims pronounced bound as band and other such fascinating pieces of information then this is the one for you.
"Made in America"
Very interesting and well read.
Goes off subject and gets a bit duller towards the end
"amazing funny and factual"
Bill Bryson mixes facts and humour to keep a long book entertaining.... Narrator William Roberts has a easy voice to listen to over and over
Brilliant book, entertaining, informative and interesting. Bill Bryson writes with humour and wit on what could easily be a dry subject. He is at once proud of the heritage of the American language and makes no excuses or apologies for where it has turned from British English but at the same time isn't afraid to cast a knowing eye or witty aside when called for. I have read and re-read this book over 20 times & listen to the audio almost as much.
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