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The Name's Familiar Mr. Leotard, Barbie, and Chef Boyardee Paperback – May 31, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Can be browsed for short spurts, or read through at once, and one that can be enjoyed at all ages...." -- Times Union, Albany, NY, January 9, 2000

"The Name's Familiar is a concise read, sometimes witty and often inspiring. The men and women who created the goods and services we take for granted today didn't wave a magic wand. Their success was built on hard work and the ability to bounce back after numerous failures. Besides being a handy etymological resource, Laura Lee's book is a tribute to their perseverance and accomplishments." -- Observer and Eccentric Newspapers, October 17, 1999

"The style is breezy, colloquial, and quite often humorous... The Name's Familiar is to be used for entertainment." -- Libraries Unlimited: Books & Resources for Librarians & Media Specialists, May, 2000

After reading this book, if you had to perform a Heimlich maneuver because of a Rubik's Cube, you might not be prepared to save a life, but you could thoroughly educate the victim. -- Midwest Book Review

If you've ever wondered about certain titles, names or phrases, here's the perfect book to discover their origins... -- WTBF AM/FM Book Bit aired September 23, 1999

From the Back Cover

"A humorous, well-written, and engaging exploration of the origins of common words and names. Laura Lee brings these famous, and sometimes infamous, personalities to life in a style that is both charming and compelling. . . . I couldn't put it down!"
--Debbi Fields, founder, Mrs. Fields Cookies

Did you know that:

- Jules Leotard, "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze," favored a tight-fitting outfit that would carry his name to even greater heights?

- Barbie Handler, daughter of one of the founders of the Mattel Toy Company, inspired the creation that would become the world's best-selling doll?

- Hector Boiardi, an Italian immigrant and cook, created delicious foods for home consumption that to this day bear his slightly altered name, along with his picture?

Author Laura Lee certainly knows. Here she introduces us to real men and women whose names have been preserved in popular culture. Her investigation into well-known eponyms (words derived from names) has produced this compilation of anecdotes and biographies about intriguing but often lesser-known historical figures.

The author is a writer for the Albany Times Union.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Pelican Publishing (May 31, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565543947
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565543942
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,995,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn P. on June 1, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is truly a book everyone can enjoy. From the opening introduction, to the very last page, this book is a charmer.
It's chocked full of names, stories and origins. It's laid out in easy to follow segments. If you've ever wondered why "hookers" are called that, or how a frisbee came into being, this is the place to find out. There are so many names and subjects, it's impossible for me to do it justice in this mini review. But, the story of Aesop (as in fables) is truly sad, and I'm sure he never imagined how long his name/stories would last.
It is wonderfully entertaining and enlightening to learn the lives behind so many of our everyday words, phrases, household items, and even body parts!!
I plan on taking mine to work tomorrow, to see who all I can "stump" :-) It makes a great ice breaker or conversation maker for that first date or just fun reading with an old mate or friend. Some stories are very lighthearted, while others are tragic, and still others unbelieveable. But, as they say, "truth is stranger than fiction" (somebody says that don't they? :-)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent source for classrooms, from English to History to Science. The stories of words is fascinating and a part of our culture. Students find the information interesting and they end up learning along the way. Ms. Lee's presentation style keeps the reader engaged, so they want to keep reading. My students end up talking about what they learned from her book, and look forward to my posting the next story each day. I also enjoy the book on my own as a source of entertainment as well as knowledge. Her writing style is fun and she has obviously done her research. I look forward to her next book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. E. Volmar on June 17, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This concise, well-researched and entertaining reference is an engaging and informative way to meet the people behind the origins of some of today's most common words and familiar names.
Written in a clear, conversational and often amusing style, it introduces the reader to more than 600 of the lighthearted, silly, fascinating, tragic or unbelievable stories of those who immortalized the names of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Rambo, Vick's Vaporub, M&M chocolate candies, Firestone tires, James Bond and Singer sewing machines, among others. The sources of some well-known eponyms (words derived from people's names) like mausoleum, academics and boycott, are also explained.
The book is divided in two sections, "The Names" and "Shorts," according to the length of the treatment given to each word's history, and the entries are presented in alphabetical order, which makes this book perfect for either browsing or consultation.
To add to your knowledge of name origins, I would recommend also buying the author's second volume in the series, "The Name's Familiar II." Both are excellent, interesting and fun resources you will keep referring to again and again.
--Reviewed by M. E. Volmar
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tammy on December 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is one book that is needed on everyones shelf. Truly an entertaining and creative read. Great gift for that hard to buy for person. I was unable to put it down this summer until I realized I was getting a sunburn! Looking forward to a sequel.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
I met Laura Lee in Michigan when she was doing radio. I knew then that she was going to do great things. She has a great mind for trivia and facts and of course, music. Love her...loved her book. In fact, later I'm ordering 2 more copies.
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