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The Oxford Dictionary of Thematic Quotations Hardcover – 1 Oct 2000

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5 out of 5 stars 1 review from the U.S.

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Those clever people at Oxford University Press, ever keen to serve up Reference in new and enticing ways, have put 7,000 of their quotations into a dictionary organised by themes--600 of them. A few of the themes turn out to be people--Shakespeare, Jane Austen, even Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher qualify for their own entries, composed of quotes about them, not by them: "The battle for the mind of Ronald Reagan was like the trench warfare of World War I. Never have so many fought so hard for such barren terrain" --Peggy Noonan.

Other dictionaries of quotations may have thematic indexes at the back, of course, but it is undeniably diverting to be able to flick through the book following the whims of topic, rather than the usual arrangement by author, from "Letters" to "Liberty" to "Libraries", for example ("If you file your waste-paper basket for 50 years, you have a public library" --Tony Benn). For people who regularly want to look up quotes on a particular topic--preachers, politicians, pedants, crossword solvers, speech writers, even students--the arrangement is positively useful. For those who just happen to love books of quotations it makes this one a little different, and gives it a charm of its own.

More importantly, perhaps, the contributors and editor show quirky good taste in their choice of quotes. There is Barbara Ehrenreich on Romance: "Personally, I can't see why it would be any less romantic to find a husband in a nice four-colour catalogue then in the average downtown bar at happy hour". Or Immanuel Kant, musing on the human race: "Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing can ever be made". There is Robert Burton, sounding positively postmodern in the seventeenth century: "One religion is as true as another". And Anonymous gets full credit. Consider this contributor to The Times in 1901:"Will the last generation of the twentieth century differ very much from the first? Will they be healthier and longer-lived, wiser, better, and more intelligent, or will they remain substantially the same as the people we have known and the people whom history has portrayed to us?" --David Pickering

About the Author

Susan Ratcliffe is an Associate Editor on Quotation Dictionaries for Oxford University Press.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great quotations book. Oxford seal of quality in every page. 23 May 2001
By Gustavo H B Alves - Published on
Format: Hardcover
There is one single reason why I've bought this book: I was looking for the best quotation dictionary available, at a low price. Every now and then I want to use a quotation in a text I write concerning to my work as a lawyer, but I never found such a book in local bookshops. My search ended when I got to this book. Have yourself a copy as soon as you can. You won't regret. I assure you that.
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