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Floyd Smith (Oakland, California)

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Get Rid of Your Accent: The English Pronunciation and Speech Training Manual
Get Rid of Your Accent: The English Pronunciation and Speech Training Manual
by Linda James
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.95

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Help from the #1 book, 17 Nov. 2009
This book helped me reduce my American accent.

Any foreigner knows that reducing your accent is hard work, and not a matter of theory or academic fashion. Get Rid of Your Accent is the #1 book by far. It has the most Amazon sales, the most Amazon reviews, and big displays in all the big bookshops in London and elsewhere. Why? Because it's the best.

The authors have degrees in phonetics and linguistics and lots of teaching experience. Why did they not write a dry academic textbook? Because it's not what most of us need.

There are some books labeled "advanced", and those are fine for a few people who are very advanced or who like theory. And there are some books with patronizing titles like "Ship or Sheep", as if we foreigners can't tell the difference. This is the only book by experts who really want to help readers get along in the UK. And it's a big success as a result. You'll see why when you buy it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 17, 2009 2:08 PM GMT

The Penguin History of New Zealand
The Penguin History of New Zealand
by Michael King
Edition: Paperback

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great, 4 Jun. 2007
I enjoyed this book and found it helpful for spending time in New Zealand on business and with friends, and for understanding news from New Zealand. So why only three stars?

First, it's a bit unclear who the book is for. It seems to me a bit "on the fence" between native Kiwis, new residents, visitors and people with a general interest. This could have been fixed in the Introduction, better definition in the text of terms like Pakeha and their appropriate usage, and perhaps an afterword or two for specific audiences.

Second, there is an Internet these days! I think a book that has become the leading history of a country should be backed by a Web site. The author has, sadly, passed away; the publishers should create and maintain this. (And it's getting to be time that they should have the book updated too.)

Thirdly, New Zealand faces big challenges these days, with the economy in gradual long-term decline and a threat to exports from global warming and related concerns. This was all known as the book was being written, but isn't reflected.

Finally, I found the book a bit long and dull. It is, as another reviewer mentioned, politically correct - which is fine, but shouldn't require a preachy tone. (See the book Heat, by George Monbiot, for a "politically correct" book that's lively, funny and involving.)

So I do recommend this book. Read it and enjoy it. But it's not as useful, nor as enjoyable, as it has the opportunity to be.

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