A delightfully discursive, Bill Bryson-esque and personal journey through the groves and the thickets of the English language, by our foremost scholar of the history and structure of the English language.
David Crystal has been described as a sort of 'latter day Dr Johnson', a populist linguist who has promoted the study of the English language in an academic and broadcasting career that has so far spanned 40 years and nearly 100 books.
Now, in his first book for Harper Press, he has written an engaging travel book of more general appeal. Inspired by WG Sebald's 'The Rings of Saturn' and by Bill Bryson's books, he has combined personal reflections, historical allusions and traveller observations to create a mesmerising (and entertaining) narrative account of his encounters with the English language and its speakers throughout the world -- from Bangor to Bombay and from Stratford to San Francisco.
'By Hook or by Cook' is an attempt to capture the exploratory, seductive, teasing, tantalising nature of language study. As such, it will appeal to the ever-growing market who like to be entertained as well as instructed.