Friday, March 9, 2007

Here Speaking English

The post's title is an inside joke, revolving around a language book we know of called Here Speeching American. That's a book that "takes a hilarious look at the challenges confronting English-speaking travelers around the world, from less-than-coherent road signs, to odd sounding food and drink, to impossible-to-follow directions, to other lighthearted examples of fractured English."

If you want to get serious, then you'll be interested in Andrew Roberts' new tome, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900. It's the kind of book I love, and based on our history here in New Albany (English-speaking and otherwise), I think it will appeal to many of you.

Here's an excerpt:

John F. Kennedy was puzzled that Americans rated Theodore Roosevelt so highly, considering that he never led the nation through any war (an estimation that might more profitably be extended to JFK himself). Roosevelt filled the White House like no other peacetime president; Mark Twain accorded the fact that he was 'the most popular human being that ever existed in the United States' to his 'joyous ebullitions of excited sincerity'. Yet there were solid achievements too: he won the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the Treaty of Portsmouth that ended the Russo-Japanese War in 1905 and began constructing the isthmian canal that linked his country's western ocean to its eastern, thus saving US warships from having to make the ninety-day journey around Cape Horn.

A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900 by Andrew Roberts

ISBN 9780060875985, Feb. 2007 (HarperCollins) $35 (Hardcover)

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