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The Pedant's Revolt: Why Most Things You Think Are Right Are Wrong Paperback – 8 Sep 2005
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There's an awful lot of nonsense that is accepted as fact and this book, compiled by Andrea Barham, goes at least part of the way to putting it right. It's informative, interesting and amusing - and it will help you settle arguments (The Times)
A really funny book... it's all there, fully researched (Richard Madeley, Richard & Judy)
Barham guides us through hundreds of common misconceptions and sets us straight clearly and entertainingly (What's On Magazine)
An excellent new book . . . Ever since Ben Schott brought out his miscellany, there has been hundreds of trivia clones released. This takes a different slant and a very welcome one . . . A great book to dip into, one that will appeal especially to fans of the programme QI (Lowestoft Journal)
Exposes many of the common myths, legends and fallacies that have become entrenched in everyday thought in a humorous fashion (Sunderland Evening Echo)
About the Author
Author and freelance technical writer Andrea Barham is the acceptable face of pedantry: while she is a big fan of the world, she feels there should be less wrongness and more rightness in it. Painfully aware of her inability to correct the bigger issues such as war, poverty and global warming, she is concentrating on smaller issues, more suited to her skills, which consist of 'looking stuff up'. By correcting common misconceptions, such as the belief that your heart stops when you sneeze, she is hoping that this will have a knock-on effect and eventually all wrongs will be righted, but she is not holding her breaths (which, incidentally, one cannot die from, as is commonly believed). Please support her crusade. The Pedant's Revolt is her fifth book.
Top customer reviews
Admittedly there is some interesting stuff in here, but the amount of trivial bits and pieces that most people would already know, just makes the whole thing a bit feeble and patronising.
To quote some examples, the author argues for a non-Scottish origin of haggis by trying to establish the etymology of the word. This by quoting a non-existent Swedish word and a non-existent Icelandic word to prove the Germanic origins. And then arguing that Germanic roots clearly establish it as having come from outside (presumably Gaelic roots are desired?) Ignoring the fact that Germanic speech has been present in Scotland since at least the sixth century and that Gaelic has never been the language of the whole country anyway...
Or take the argument that the 'Eskimos' do not really have lots of words for snow. This hits the problem of what is meant by 'Eskimo' (a word not used by the peoples themselves anyway). The author quotes someone writing about the Yupik of Alaska, ignoring the fact that most people's Eskimos are the Inuit, who according to anthropologist Hugh Brodie in his book "The Other Side of Eden" do indeed have a great msny words for snow.
And for a final example of poor argument, you can rest assured that "Puff the Magic Dragon" is not a veiled reference to drugs. The reason? The now-older-and-wiser author denies it...
A daft read and ideal for the toilet library.