The best thing about this book seems to be its amusing title. It stars out very technical with `map terms' and things that would only interest serious cartographers- which I am not. It is very unfortunate, because this book could have been a really interesting narrative on American history and its conscience.
Though there are a few interesting examples of words used to describe places or geographic anomalies, the story is quite flat. One read-through of the back cover is all that is needed to know that once in the US there were many places that took the name of `nipple', `jap', `nigger' and `squaw' which he says is translated loosely to mean `whore' in many Indian languages. But the background information on these is lacking and the reasons for change are boring.
The author obviously knows his subject, and likes to use numbers and facts to support his case, but do we really need to know what number of `japs' were on a certain State Dept map? The answer is obviously no. It suffices to say that there were any at all, that is is unacceptable. The most interesting parts of the book were the sections discussing naming places in space (like on the moon) and on the sea floor. But this too was thin and just didn't tell much.
Much of the book is very repetitive and keeps brining up the few shocking examples of place names as mentioned above. But these spares examples quickly became tiresome and are not enough to base an entire book on! I was really looking forward to finding out new information, but was thoroughly bored and sorry I bought the book. This subject- as this author has attacked it- should have been a journal article and not a book.
This is all really unfortunate, because this book could have been so much more. It reads more like a report by the United States Board on Geographical Names. A simple list of current names and all its derivations- historical and linguistic would have been preferred, as it would have saved the time of reading a text with no depth. I think all the positive reviews of the book are misplaced and based on the title and a quick scan of the book. Because as soon as the shock of some of the place names wears off the text shows it true dull colors.