Rating: 4 out of 5
This was really interesting! Histories in general have the promise to be thrilling, histories of language share this but add a few elements. What Mr Bryson has done here is create a history of both language and the background events. From the very beginning where the Mayflower reaches what’s going to become the Plymouth Colony in the future to the space race, the author assiduously tracks the events which have led to the enrichment of the English language.
Especially the first few chapters take in a lot of comparisons between the British and American versions of the language, as well as the development of some certain phrases. For people with involvement both sides of the Atlantic, this is bound to arouse interest in figuring out why some words are preferred to others. I think the author found a good balance in what he included though, at times, the lists of words went on for too long. That does, however, give the reader plenty of opportunity familiarise themselves with the variety.
Overall, I think this one comes as a ‘Strong Recommend’ from me. While not amazing, it’s both enough not-only-a-language-history as well as not-only-a-history that people with any interest in either of those, or the development of settlement or technology in America, that they should find a few stories of interest herein.