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Bartlett's Familiar Quotations : A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Proverbs Traced to Their Sources in Ancient and Modern Literature 16th Edition

41 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0316082778
ISBN-10: 0316082775
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Product Details

  • Series: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations
  • Hardcover: 1472 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown; 16th edition (November 4, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316082775
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316082778
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #458,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

208 of 212 people found the following review helpful By Robert Kall VINE VOICE on October 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Bartlett's is, by far, the most well known of all quotations books. But it may or not be the best one for your needs. If you want a book which will help you find our who wrote quotations that you encounter, then it's an excellent choice. If you want a book that takes you on a stroll through the history of ideas, starting with the earliest quotations, and moving through to the most recent, then this is a good book for you, perhaps the best. This can be a great way to discover which authors' ideas you like, so you can identify whole books by those authors. It's a great way to introduce nuggets of brilliance to your kids too.
But if you are preparing a speech, writing a book or article which you want to find good quotes on specific subjects, this is not a good choice. There are some wonderfully better books than this one with more quotations and which are far better organized. They are all organized by subject category. It makes all the difference in the world, compared to going to the index in the back of the book, then searching for each quote referred to in the subject index, as Bartlett's forces you to do.
If you are, like me, a quotation book collector (I have over 400, dating back to 1590 and a computer database of over 50,000 quotatiosn) then you'll want an edition of Bartlett's (I have at least half a dozen different editions, and the contents do change from edition to edition.)
Other good subject categorized quotation books include . H.L. Mencken's A New Dictionary of Quotations Awesome collection Dictionary of Thoughts by Tryon Edwards, over 100 years since first published, but much friendlier Burton Stevenson's Home Book of quotations, with over 40,000 quotes also titled as MacMillan Dictionary of Quotations, Big, solidly done.
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By James Gallen VINE VOICE on January 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I always wondered how speakers knew all those quotations. Now I know. They check "Barltett's Quotations."
This book consists of an extensive collection of thousands of familiar quotations from hundreds of sources spanning the history of the world. Biblical books, literary works, historical figures, authors, politicians, religious figures and even the anonymous all contribute to this vast collection.
The collection is assembled by source, listed, more or less, chronologically. The book contains two indices. In the front, the reader finds the Index by Authors. After the quotations, we find a general index of topics. For each listing in the general index, we find the lead word as a heading with the citation for each lead word with the words which follow it in the quotation.
I have found this book to be a valuable resource on many occasions. Just reading through it educates the reader to the source of many sayings with which we are familiar. When I have been searching my brain for the particular phrase, I have often found it in "Bartlett's". When looking for a witty phrase with which to liven a speech, "Bartlett's" often comes in handy.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone who needs a source for quotations for speeches, writings, or just to satisfy your own curiosity.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By C. Hulshof on March 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a 'thinking man's' book, it is very well laid out, includes many (sometimes very obscure) quotations, is extremely well on sources (something that is so blatantly absent from many dictionairies of quotations), and includes a large amount of cross-references (although you can find a lot more yourself by careful browsing). If you buy only one book of quotations, this should be your choice. A good second is Oxford's, but Bartlett has got the best index of any reference work ever (it is more than 700 pages itself!) The preface of the book contains a sour message on the state of illiteracy in the USA, it is best left alone, but the rest of the book cannot be recommended enough. In sum, this is the best reference book of quotations available.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
"It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations. Bartlett's 'Familiar Quotations' is an admirable work, and I studied it intently." Sir Winston Churchill (1930) Sir Winston does a remarkable job of "reviewing" "FQ", and 5 pages of his own words are contained within (the aforementioned quote is on page 619 in this edition). There are over 50 pages of Shakespeare, as well. The index is superb, one can find quotes appropriate for speeches, letters, and personal enjoyment with ease. Bravo John Bartlett!
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69 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Wayne A. Smith VINE VOICE on August 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I'm a politician and frequently prepare speeches and articles that are meant to persuade or provide appropriate commentary. Bartlett's is indespensible if your style accomodates the quoting of others. For those moments when I must mark events (Memorial Day) or meet an expectation of seriousness I find Bartlett's to be an excellent source for just the right phrase.
This is a massive reference book, which is good in and of itself. Where Bartlett's really shines is in it's organization. Quotes in the body are arranged chronologically and by author. The index is superb, with quotes locatable by subject and author. For most topics, the writer will be confronted with multiple quotes from which to choose which best illustrates the heft and value of this tome.
My only criticism, which has been noted by other commentators, is that this latest edition does seem to be moderately invaded by political correctness. For example, the quotes selected to characterize Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher almost seem to be designed to belittle their historic contributions and commentary -- while much more historic and significant utterances are ignored (missing for example are "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," or any of Reagan's wonderful D-Day commemmoration speech). I personnally find this annoying because my need for quotes does run to the political. One also gets the sneaky suspicion that some of the newer entries were inserted for reasons other than the significance or value of the quote.
That said however, the book is an excellent resource. It is rich, covering almost any topic you may want to highlight and reaches back to beyond biblical times for quotable utterances. A must for any reference library.
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