Saturday, May 02, 2009

Goodreads: Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World

Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World by Nicholas Ostler


My review


rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow. Not for dumb kids. This is one of those books that exposed me to a flood of history, ideas, cultures, facts, and theories that I had never before managed to encounter. It filled in lots of gaps I knew I had along the way, like how New York changed hands from being Dutch to being English, or how Phoenician language became Punic and the language of the Carthiginians. It is a remarkable book in the same way that Guns, Germs and Steel or A Short History of Nearly Everything are remarkable - on nearly every page you will have learned something that will fascinate you.



If you're in the right mood, that is. This book took me nearly a year of stops and starts to get through. It can be, let's say, a little dry. But it's still the kind of book I want to make other people read just so I can have the pleasure of discussing it with them. But it is NOT an undertaking for the faint of heart or short of attention span. Anyone up to the challenge?


View all my reviews.

2 comments:

Rich said...

I've had Empires sitting on my shelf for while, maybe this will finally give me the inspiration to read it (after I finish Moore's The American President, of course).

dave said...

I picked my copy up in the gift shop of the British Museum on a whim. What made you pick it up, Rich?