Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Review: The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester

Simon Winchester is one of the more popular non-fiction authors of our time and this is one of the books upon which he made his reputation. While apparently a rather small book, it deals in quite fascinating detail with the origins and development of the OED. While it does discuss how the OED was researched and how it's now legendary format and incredible amount of detail was developed, the book's primary focus is on the personalities that helped (or hindered) the gestation and birth of the OED. As usual Winchester is a master of story telling in his rather unique way. For those who are not very familiar with English tradition and culture, some causal references made by Winchester might be obscure and puzzling, but those willing to put in the time doing some Google research will be enlightened and entertained. Very much recommended as a good casual read.

Link to LibraryThing entry for this book

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