I think that this is an extremely important book that should be read by politicians and concerned citizens in every country around the world. The mass extinction of languages that is occurring, and will continue to occur, from now on is a terrible tragedy in every respect. This book seeks to enlighten the reader by giving reasons why languages die, why people should be so concerned, and suggests ways to keep minority languages alive and well. The thought that more than 50% of the world's six thousand or so languages are going to die by the year 2100 should be enough to get many people motivated about preserving languages (and cultures), but the word needs to get out. That's why a book like this is so vitally important. Governments, as a general rule, need a good shove when it comes to projects like saving languages, which some cynics would dismiss as trivial or a luxury. The simple, straightforward manner in which this book is presented can be read and appreciated by anyone, not just linguists. What I liked very much about the book was that it never went overboard in blaming the so-called "language killers" like English, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin, and German. It offered concrete answers and laid a good portion of the blame on the people themselves, not just their oppressors. Incidentally, English is unique in that it is actually killing the other "language killers" in addition to minority languages, and (if current trends continue) may be the only language left on Earth by the year 2500!!
A book like this has a particular resonance for me because I have been studying Irish Gaelic for the last six months and I am determined to be fluent in the language within the next couple of years. But Irish is a threatened language that has less than fifty thousand fluent speakers worldwide, and the forecast is not good for the language unless something drastic is done in Ireland. A strong majority of the Irish people want the language to thrive, but government incompetence, underfunding, and English encroachment even into the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking areas) are still happening. It makes me so sad and angry that this problem isn't being given due concern! And this only my particular situation; the story is the same for so many other languages! Unless people start taking action and making an effort (reading a book like "Language Death" is an excellent start to get an idea of what's at stake), the voices of so many of our ancestors will disappear in the coming century.