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Sir Ernest Gowers was born in 1880, and became a leading civil servant. He ran the civil defence of London during the Second World War, chaired the Royal Commission into Capital Punishment, wrote the bestseller, Plain Words, and became the first editor of H. W. Fowler's classic Dictionary of Modern English Usage. Rebecca Gowers is the author of The Swamp of Death, shortlisted for the CWA non-fiction Golden Dagger Award, and of two novels, When to Walk and The Twisted Heart, both longlisted for the Orange Prize.
Vastly informative and indispensable -- Bill Bryson The great Sir Ernest Gowers ... the grand old boy himself -- Lynne Truss Itself a model of how plain words should be used * Telegraph * Rebecca Gowers has been charged with the task of producing a version which is true to the spirit of the original but adapted to the needs of the 21st century. She discharges this task with wit and delicacy -- Stefan Collini * Prospect * A small literary jewel * Evening News * Gowers's main precepts are as sensible today as they were when he first presented them ... beneficial, intelligent and sympathetic -- David Crystal Over half a century after Plain Words was first published, its principles are as important as ever: say what you mean in the clearest possible fashion. Rebecca Gowers has done a great job ... superb -- Caroline Taggart One thing that makes Gowers such an engaging figure is that he isn't prissy, priggish or prim. As far as he is concerned, language is a living thing that is constantly changing - and this is just as it should be * Sunday Telegraph * Still the best book on English and how to write it ... Unhappy with versions rewritten by others, Rebecca Gowers, Sir Ernest's great-granddaughter, has produced a new edition ... The result is splendid ... Gowers wrote with wit, humanity and common sense ... [his] central advice should be taped to the screen of anyone sitting down at a computer keyboard -- Michael Skapinker * Financial Times * The book has been modernized but preserves all its original charm ... There is arguably a greater need for its circulation among the general public [than ever before] * Big Issue * The zeal with which Sir Ernest uncovers error is matched only by the wit with which he chastises it * Evening Standard * I am glad that attention should be continually drawn to copies of this book ... I am in full sympathy with the doctrine laid down by Sir Ernest Gowers -- Sir Winston Churchill A delight, a classic of its kind * John o'London's Weekly * Great fun to read * Economist * Brilliant * New Statesman * A sweetly reasonable and wholly admirable guide * The Times * It will delight far wider circles than those to whom it is primarily addressed * Observer *