Letter Perfect

Paperback $15.95

Aug 03, 2004 | 416 Pages

Ebook $13.99

Dec 18, 2007 | 416 Pages

  • Paperback $15.95

    Aug 03, 2004 | 416 Pages

  • Ebook $13.99

    Dec 18, 2007 | 416 Pages

Praise

“At a time when it has become more important than ever to read clearly and intelligently in order to dismantle the daily traps of propaganda, this delightful book lays bare for us, with wit and wisdom, the very building-blocks of our culture: the mysterious letters of the alphabet that rule our language and thought.”
—Alberto Manguel, author of A History of Reading

“Reading David Sacks’s wonderful Letter Perfect is like sitting rapt before the coolest teacher in school. Sacks’s excursion through the alphabet is witty and smart.  I was reluctant to finally leave the classroom.”
—Mark Dunn, author of Ella Minnow Pea

“[Letter Perfect] is distinguished by its remarkably long and broad view of the topic and its omnivorous sense of fun. … [A] clear and appealing discussion. … [A] dazzlingly diverse array of facts. … From discussions of the letter A’s role in meat grading, bond rating, student ranking, and punishment for adultery to Z’s exotic associations with Zorro, Sacks makes the history of the alphabet a joy to read. Recommended for most libraries.”
Library Journal (US)

“An always clever — but rarely too clever — educational and entertaining history of the alphabet. A refreshing combination of erudition and breeziness.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Sacks unfolds the romance and magic of the English alphabet. Although Sacks writes for non-specialists, he distills an impressive range of scholarship into his examination of the alphabet’s complex cultural history. This is a delightfully entertaining and engrossing tale of how the score of roman letters that arrived in England in the seventh century eventually gave us everything from the poetry of William Shakespeare to the official grades used by meat inspectors to evaluate chicken.”
Booklist

“As fun to read as it is enlightening…Sacks’s obsession with language is contagious, and I can imagine few readers whose lives would not be enriched by what he calls his ‘voyage of discovery.’”
—Julie Walton Shaver, The New York Times Book Review

“Sacks is at his best when he opens a world, and the worlds within worlds that shape-shift as written language moves…Letter Perfect is a valuable addition (edition?) for anyone who wants to know how Anglophones got from there to here.”
The Globe and Mail

“[Letter Perfect] is distinguished by its remarkably long and broad view of the topic and its omnivorous sense of fun. … [A] clear and appealing discussion. … [A] dazzlingly diverse array of facts. … From discussions of the letter A’s role in meat grading, bond rating, student ranking, and punishment for adultery to Z’s exotic associations with Zorro, Sacks makes the history of the alphabet a joy to read. Recommended for most libraries.”
Library Journal (US)

‘Beautifully illustrated…[A] gem of popular linguistic history…[Letter Perfect] avoids taking itself too seriously.”
Publishers Weekly

“[A] cultural history of A to Z. Letter Perfect unravels the mystery of the alphabet’s ancient origins, and explores its effects on the modern world.”
Citizen’s Weekly

“Sacks writes in a jokey, conversational style…anthropomorphiz[ing] the letters to make their ‘biographies’ even more exciting.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“A delightful exploration of the roots, stalks and branches of the letter forms that proved to be so remarkably adaptable to so many diverse, unrelated languages.”
The Edmonton Journal

“Sacks does an excellent job tracing each letter’s history…Well-researched and very readable.”
Quill and Quire

“[A] delightful journey into the history of our alphabet…With a breezy tone and a passion for letters, Sacks tells the life story of all 26 of them — from A, the ‘first and best,’ to Z, the least-used letter in printed English. Each of these 26 ‘biographies’ is filled with entertaining and fascinating facts…In this rich history, Sacks offers answers to all of the mysteries of the alphabet, and a long-overdue examination of the origins of our ABCs.”
The Baltimore Sun

“…Journalist Sacks unfolds the romance and magic of the English alphabet. Although Sacks writes for nonspecialists, he distills an impressive range of scholarship into his examination of the alphabet’s complex cultural history…Delightfully entertaining and engrossing.”
Booklist

“An always clever — but rarely too clever — educational and entertaining history of the alphabet….A refreshing combination of erudition and breeziness.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Sacks’ often witty, always scientific and eminently historical approach draws us into mysteries of time and humanity.”
Contra Costa Times (California)

“[A] gem of popular linguistic history.”
Publishers Weekly

Letter Perfect is a fun bit of popular scholarship, a diverting reference book filled with illustrations and sidebars that both entertain and inform. It is also a success story – the story of a ‘spectacularly successful’ invention (the alphabet), culminating in the global triumph of a spectacularly successful language (English).”
Kitchener-Waterloo Record (Dec. 13, 2003)

Product Details

Also by David Sacks

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