Letter Perfect: The A-to-Z History of Our Alphabet

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Knopf Canada, Aug 20, 2010 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 416 pages
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Letters are tangible language. Joining together in endless combinations to actually show speech, letters convey our messages and tell our stories. While we encounter these tiny shapes hundreds of times a day, we take for granted the long, fascinating history behind one of the most fundamental of human inventions -- the alphabet.

The heart of the book is the 26 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 the letter X has a sinister and sexual aura, how B came to signify second best, why the word “mother” in many languages starts with M, and what is the story of O.

Packed with information and lavishly illustrated, Letter Perfect is not only accessible and entertaining, but essential to the appreciation of our own language.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

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

User Review  - Jane Doe - 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

Selected pages

Contents

PREFACE
LITTLE LETTERS BIG IDEA
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INTERVIEWS
ILLUSTRATION CREDITS AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

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 and dozens of magazines. He wrote a 26-part series for the Ottawa Citizen on the letters of the alphabet that was received enthusiastically by readers and which he has expanded and developed into Letter Perfect. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Bibliographic information