'Surprisingly accessible... Adams prizes clarity and precision ... The book emerges as an intellectual cousin of Sir Ronald Syme's classic analysis of the rise of the Emperor Augustus, The Roman Revolution.' Times Literary Supplement
Major history of many of the developments undergone by the Latin language as it changed into Romance languages. A distinction is made between linguistic change emanating from higher social/educational groups ('change from above') and that emanating from lower social/educational groups ('change from below').