- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: John Blake Publishing Ltd (3 Sept. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1844544613
- ISBN-13: 978-1844544615
- Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 2.8 x 18.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Red Herrings and White Elephants Paperback – 3 Sep 2007
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"Amusing and informative...[takes] you on a trip through the most fascinating and richest regions of the English language."--Knutsford Guardian (UK)
About the Author
Albert Jack is a writer and researcher in pop culture whose favourite phrase is 'doolally'. He is 39 years old and has two children.
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Top Customer Reviews
As the title suggests it has the origins of all those well known sayings and you will find yourself saying out loud "oh wow, that's where that comes from". If you like things that are a little different you will really enjoy this book.
We keep it in the lounge and the amount of guests that pick it up and can't put it down is quite funny.
An absolute must have!
Quinion's is almost certainly the more accurate and learned. But it's so dull. His approach tends to be to dismiss the wonderful folk tales around words and phrases in a very superior way before confessing he doesn't really have a better explanation.
Jack doesn't let the facts get in the way of a good tale and he presents a much more entertaining read.
The choice is simple - if you want a few funny tall tales to entertain a group of mates in the pub, buy Jack. If you want to be the lonely pedant in the corner muttering "well that's not strictly accurate" get a copy of Quinion.
By the author's own admission this book was put together simply to cash in on the Christmas/casual purchase market, and it shows in its sloppy research. If you, or your gift-recipient, are genuinely interested in the history of words and phrases, I would suggest Michael Quinion's far superior 'Port Out, Starboard Home'. It may not be piled high by the tills in your local bookshop, but you'll be well rewarded for seeking it out.
However, whilst I won't for one moment claim to be able to confirm the accuracy of every entry, I can observe that several "claims" in the books are in fact completely inaccurate urban myths, which makes my confidence in the accuracy in the rest of the book somewhat diminished.
Overall, there's definitely some gems in here, but not knowing what's nonsense makes this a rather disappointing read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Entertaining book with some dubious facts, worth the money though :)Published 2 months ago by C. R. Doust
great fun. we have used the book several times when we hear an obscure quote or saying..Published 4 months ago by Bigus Matus
I got talking to some friends about where these old phrases come from and this got me interested in finding out more. I have enjoyed dipping in and out of this book. Read morePublished 13 months ago by R. Wilcox