Alpha Beta: How 26 Letters Shaped the Western World

Book review by Deane Barker
tags: liquistics
John Man

Ridiculous book supposedly about the spread of the alphabet, but really about anything but that. This author hasn’t found a tangent he didn’t want to go off on. At any given point, I couldn’t figure out if the author was talking about the purported subject, or just telling some random story about a historical figure in the name of…what?…color? Context?

I read this entire book, but the only thing I can say with any authority is that I know nothing more about the spread of the alphabet than I knew when I started. I had hoped it would turn the corner at some point, but it never did. Or, perhaps it did, and all that was around the corner was some dude telling more random stories.

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