Letter Perfect: The Marvelous History of Our Alphabet From A to Z

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Crown/Archetype, Dec 18, 2007 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 416 pages
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David Sacks has embarked on a fun, lively, and learned excursion into the alphabet–and into cultural history–in Letter Perfect. Clearly explaining the letters as symbols of precise sounds of speech, the book begins with the earliest known alphabetic inscriptions (circa 1800 b.c.), recently discovered by archaeologists in Egypt, and traces the history of our alphabet through the ancient Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans and up through medieval Europe to the present day. But the heart of the book is the twenty-six fact-filled “biographies” of letters A through Z, each one identifying the letter’s particular significance for modern readers, tracing its development from ancient forms, and discussing its noteworthy role in literature and other media. We learn, for example, why letter X may have a sinister and sexual aura, how B came to signify second best, why the word mother in many languages starts with M. Combining facts both odd and essential, Letter Perfect is cultural history at its most accessible and enjoyable.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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LANGUAGE VISIBLE: Unraveling the Mystery of the Alphabet from A to Z

User Review  - Kirkus

An always clever—but rarely too clever—educational and entertaining history of the alphabet.Canadian journalist Sacks became fascinated with the history and use of written language while researching ... Read full review

Language visible: unraveling the mystery of the alphabet from A to Z

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Joining the sizable field of popular cultural histories of the Roman alphabet published in the last ten years (e.g., Johanna Drucker's The Alphabetic Labyrinth and John Man's Alpha Beta), this ... Read full review



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About the author (2007)

DAVID SACKS is author of the Encyclopedia of the Ancient Greek World. His articles mainly on cultural topics have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Wall Street Journal, the Ottawa Citizen, and dozens of magazines. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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