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Robert McCrum, literary editor of London's Observer, is the author of six highly acclaimed novels and coauthor of the international bestseller The Story of English. James Langton trained as an actor at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. An AudioFile Earphones Award winner, he has performed many voice-overs and narrated numerous audiobooks. James was born in York, England, and is now based in New York City.
When McCrum contributed to the book and television series Story of English in the 1980s, most scholars felt the language was degenerating into numerous dialects. Why was that view inaccurate? McCrum identifies factors that made the British pen triumphant in a vast linguistic empire-e.g., a multicultural and multilanguage legacy from early invasions, language seeds sown through an eventual empire, being among victors of 20th-century world war, and a heritage of valuing literacy. These values spurred economies and global media such as CNN and the BBC, even before the Internet, all through which English currently offers a unified communications platform. McCrum supports his narrative with quotations and biographical sketches that powerfully connect older English to today, such as biblical language echoed by Barack Obama. VERDICT Readers unfamiliar with British history may find some sections difficult, but the absence of linguistic jargon combines with supporting documentation to create an overall effective work. Distinguished by its historical focus and accessibility to a general audience, this book successfully appeals to language lovers and history buffs alike.-Marianne Orme, Des Plaines P.L., IL Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
"An overall effective work... This book successfully appeals to language lovers and history buffs alike." ---Library Journal