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Publisher's Summary

The pun is commonly dismissed as the lowest form of wit, and punsters are often unpopular for their obsessive wordplay. But such attitudes are relatively recent developments. In The Pun Also Rises, John Pollack - a former World Pun Champion and presidential speechwriter for Bill Clinton - explains why such wordplay is significant: It both revolutionized language and played a pivotal role in making the modern world possible.

Skillfully weaving together stories and evidence from history, brain science, pop culture, literature, anthropology, and humor, The Pun Also Rises is an authoritative yet playful exploration of a practice that is common, in one form or another, to virtually every language on earth. At once entertaining and educational, this engaging book answers fundamental questions: Just what is a pun, and why do people make them? How did punning impact the development of human language, and how did that drive creativity and progress? And why, after centuries of decline, does the pun still matter?

©2011 John Pollack (P)2011 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"With his compelling narrative style, Pollack unearths hard evidence that the noble pun is much more than a literary step-child or linguistic anomaly. And as a practitioner of the art and artifice of wordplay himself, John naturally dedicates a bit of spice to peppering and assaulting us with a few subtle zingers of his zone." (Gary Hallock, producer of the O.Henry Pun-Off World Championships)
"Anyone with an interest in language is going to find this book fascinating." (David Crystal, author of How Language Works)

What members say

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Punderful Little Book

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I really enjoy puns and jokes of all sort, and this little book had a fun, pop exploration of the history of puns and their uses over time. Sometimes it overreached -- as when it tried to explain neurological processes that may or may not affect the punster's delivery or the audience's reception -- but for the most part it was a delightful little book.

Would you be willing to try another book from John Pollack? Why or why not?

Sure. I was specifically listening for the punnage, but if he took on a topic of similar note, I'd be interested.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Pete Larkin?

Yes. He was a good narrator.

Do you think The Pun Also Rises needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

I have no opinion.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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fantastic! Anyone who enjoys some good word play.

The history of punning is delightful. A great way to enjoy that isn't to punishing on the eerie canal.