From Library Journal
The usage expert's tenth book on language is another witty and erudite collection of syndicated columns (previously published in the New York Times Magazine ) on grammar, etymology, and shades of meaning. Drawing material from politics and pop culture, Safire will please all lovers of language in his musings on usage and the origins of buzzwords. He struggles to keep his conservative politics out of these columns (not always successfully, since many of them appeared during the 1988 election), and he is sometimes cloyingly clever. But he is never obscure, and comments from readers (the "Gotcha! Gang")--as many as 15 letters are appended to each column--render the tone conversational, not dictatorial. Entry subjects range from "Iron Curtain " and "kinder, gentler nation" to "winkle-picker" and "junk fax." Highly recommended for all collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/93.- Jack Lynch, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
More delightful linguistic nit-picking from Safire. This seventh collection of the author's ``On Language'' columns (Language Maven Strikes Again, 1990, etc.), reprinted from The New York Times Magazine, finds him in fine and cranky fettle: Instead of an opening acknowledgments page, he gives us ``Credits,'' since ``Acknowledgments is a word that, to me, connotes grudging admission of the need to say thanks....Besides, the snooty word has a fake Latin prefix: hell with it.'' Although the columns cover scores of topics ranging from ``drug-war lingo'' to the phrase ``pushing the envelope'' and the idiosyncrasies of apostrophes, readers will note the regularity with which Safire tackles the utterances of George Bush--for example, the former President's description ``of a photo session at which he makes remarks but refuses to answer reporters' questions as `a limited photo op cum statement sans questions' ''). As in the earlier collections, much of the fun here comes from the many readers' responses to the columns--e.g., Leo Rosten, commenting on Safire's piece on political phrasing, remembering his own unsuccessful attempt, while at the RAND Corporation, to complement the word ``warfare'' with ``peacefare''; or the fellow from Pleasantville, New York, who answers Safire's column about misplaced plurals by citing the story of the Bronx woman who asked her daughter, Bella, for a ``Kleeneck'': ``Bella said, `Ma, it's Kleenex.' To which Ma replied, `Yeah, I know, but I only want one.' '' -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.