The dust jacket claims that the author of Red Herrings and White Elephants has "a passion for solving the mysteries of the English language". Well, a linguistic Morse he is not. While some definitions and etymologies are approaching accurate, there are so many errors that any claim for authority is laughable. Some of the real howlers include the hugely convoluted, inaccurate and illogical exposition of "flog a dead horse", along with a seriously odd reading of "raining cats and dogs", which includes the assertion that the phrase "raining dogs and polecats" is an explicit allusion to nautical terminology without any supporting evidence. The generally slapdash approach reaches its zenith with the invokation of Hindu sacred pigs in "bite the bullet", and the book therafter tails off into banality and whimsy. If the writing were lively and engaging then I might recommend it, but that isn't the case. Don't waste your money.
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