There is always a certain contradiction implicit in a dictionary of slang--a clash between the authority and control implicit in a dictionary and the endless self-invention and self-regeneration of slang. Slang is often the language of minorities and underclasses and subcultures; and almost always a way of getting on with your own business in words that the official cannot hear or understand. Green has the right paradoxical combination of the obsessive collector and control-freak and the libertine who likes to luxuriate in language at play. His background in the underground press of the Sixties and his role as oral historian guarantee his sympathies, while his various dictionaries and his excellent history of dictionaries Chasing the Sun
, are solid indicators of his scholarship. It is a matter of some daring to take on the subject that Eric Partridge made so totally his own--and Green does magnificently for the second half of our century what Partridge did for the first. This is an essential reference book and also an important part of late 20th-century social history, an age of drugs, popular culture and vivid minority language: Green has taken on a huge project and entirely succeeded in it. --Roz Kaveney
The dictionary of the decade: the first comprehensive new survey of English slang to have appeared in over 60 years.