- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (October 23, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780380713813
- ISBN-13: 978-0380713813
- ASIN: 0380713810
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 227 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States Paperback – October 23, 2001
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Readers from Toad Suck, Arkansas, to Idiotsville, Oregon--and everywhere in between--will love Made in America, Bill Bryson's Informal History of the English Language in the United States. It is, in a word, fascinating. After reading this tour de force, it's clear that a nation's language speaks volumes about its true character: you are what you speak. Bryson traces America's history through the language of the time, then goes on to discuss words culled from everyday activities: immigration, eating, shopping, advertising, going to the movies, and others.
Made in America will supply you with interesting facts and cocktail chatter for a year or more. Did you know, for example, that Teddy Roosevelt's "speak softly and carry a big stick" credo has its roots in a West African proverb? Or that actor Walter Matthau's given name is Walter Mattaschanskayasky? Or that the supposedly frigid Puritans--who called themselves "Saints," by the way--had something called a pre-contract, which was a license for premarital sex? Made in America is an excellent discussion of American English, but what makes the book such a treasure is that it offers much, much more.
From Publishers Weekly
Bryson offers a playfully anecdotal account of the etymology of distinctive words and phrases that help to create a distinctly American English.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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I have heard that there is some incorrect information in this book. I am not knowledgeable enough to comment on that, however, normally it's not even the content of a Bryson book that makes it interesting, it's his writing style. You start reading and next thing you know you are on some great journey with an old friend. For whatever the reason, this book seemed to lack that specialness which makes him such a great writer.
Whenever I am reading Bill Bryson, I am compelled to talk about it incessantly. So, I'm sure it was a long few weeks for my friends and family. Bryson doesn't disappoint in this follow-up to the brilliant, amazing (and one my favorite books ever) The Mother Tongue. Made in America basically tells the history of the United States, using its unique take on the English language as the medium by which to tell a fascinating historical, sociological, psychological, and cultural story, from America's beginnings with the blending of English and native languages that created a poetry of nomenclature, to the immigrant contribution to vocabulary, to the inventive spirit of business and machines that influence linguistics. Americans use English differently, different clichés, different vocabulary, different prose and style, and have contributed greatly to language. Bryson tells a fascinating story, and a brilliant linguistic one. I loved this book. So full of fascinating goodies. Thanks again for another great read, Bill! Grade: A
Bill Bryson writes with an easy to read and humorous style. His books are always fun to read and reread. I am always sad when I read the last page.
Bibliography and index.