English is the collective work of millions of people throughout the ages. It is democratic, ever-changing and ingenious in its assimilation of other cultures. English runs through the heart of world finance, medicine and the Internet, and it is understood by around two thousand million people across the world. Yet it was very nearly wiped out in its early years.
In this book Melvyn Bragg shows us the remarkable story of the English language; from its beginnings as a minor guttural Germanic dialect to its position today as a truly established global language. The Adventure of English
is not only an enthralling story of power, religion and trade, but also the story of people, and how their day-to-day lives shaped and continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.
About the Author
Melvyn Bragg is a writer and broadcaster. His novels include The Hired Man, for which he won the Time/Life Silver Pen Award, Without a City Wall, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, The Soldier's Return, winner of the WHSmith Literary Award, A Son of War and Crossing the Lines, both of which were longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, A Place in England, which was longlisted for the Lost Man Booker Prize, and most recently Grace and Mary. He has also written several works of non-fiction, including The Book of Books about the King James Bible. He lives in London and Cumbria.
Melvyn Bragg's superb new history of the English language is told as an adventure story, and rightly so. There is much splendid intellectual firepower in this book. - Andrew Roberts, Spectator
Concise as well as learned...Melvyn Bragg takes the high road and strides confidently through the origins and growth of English. It gives us an impressive and sage view of the big picture. - Robert Winder, New Statesman
Bragg is an expert translator in areas that academics find difficult to popularise...he produces a pithy, accessible narrative. - Guardian
This breathless tale of the English language is one of struggle, resilience and triumph - Irish Times
Beautifully clear and, indeed, thrilling - Waterstone's Books Quarterly
Bragg's approachable account gleams with little gems. It has power and clarity...rewarding. - Sunday Herald
Always readable, often thought-provoking, and consistently entertaining. - Independent
This is a highly readable, jargon-free treatise on a notoriously prickly subject. Bragg's affection for his subject is infectious. In this he successfully joins a long tradition of gentleman enthusiasts from peppery Dr Johnson to genial James Murray. - Observer