16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Book unsuitable for interested amateurs,
This review is from: The Power of Babel (Hardcover)
I've been reading books about language and linguistics for many years and have rarely been as disappointed by a book. If you extract all McWhorter's own self-referential little comments about his childhood, stories about television shows and comic books, and "cute" footnotes (example: 6. "Hats off to the 'Simpsons' house composer...." 7. "I like that one too." 9. "Dino fans: Yes, I know....", to take just one chapter), there is scarcely any new or interesting information in his book.
Who is the book aimed at? On one hand, the overly colloquial style ("Make no mistake: I love written language deeply and enjoy few things more than composing prose on the page" !!) argues that it is aimed at a reader who knows nothing whatever about the subject and needs to be pulled in by things like analysis of a McDonald's ad in German. On the other hand, the long, long, long sections about creoles and pidgins seem to be aimed at a reader who is already fascinated by that subject. Well, at any rate this book was NOT aimed at me-- an interested and educated amateur.