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'Hitching’s excavation are a treat. He presents the best gleanings of academia in a winning, conversational style. Almost every spadeful yields an etymological nugget . . . elegantly and entertainingly written' (Financial Times )
'A fascinating exploration of the rich borrowings, exchanges and couplings of the language' (Ben Macintyre, The Times )
'Hitchings has teased out the stories lurking behind the language to provide a most satisfying whole' (Publishing News )
'Much more than a collage of etymological trivia, this is a dense and thorough excavation of the stories that lie behind the words we say' (Metro )
'Quite how Hitchings has managed to wrestle this dizzying mountain of dense information into such an elegant narrative . . . is a feat almost as admirable as that of the great lexicographer. His book is painstakingly detailed, closely argued and suffused with a contagious enthusiasm for the secrets woven into the fabric of our words (Daily Telegraph )
'This clever, persuasive, delightful book is studded with entertaining observations' (Independent on Sunday )
'Wearing his learning lightly, Hitchings has produced an impressive successor to his acclaimed account of Johnson’s dictionary' (Independent )
'A wonderfully detailed history of the English language' (Good Book Guide )
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