• by Robert McCrum
  • Narrated by Simon Shepherd
  • 10 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

What were the beginnings of the English language? Why has American culture spread so successfully and will it continue to do so even as the country’s power apparently wanes? Why are the West Indies no longer any good at cricket? What difference did slavery make to the way we speak English today?
Packed with nuggets of information about language, culture, history and power, Robert McCrum traces the way that the English language as twisted and turned in response to the way the world has changed, and how, even as the British Empire is long dead, the language extends its influence further and further in a globalised world.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


A really well read book. It was such an interesting journey of communication. Quite enlightening too.
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- Julia

OK, but...

This book is an interesting listen, but there is a lot of padding. I couldn't figure out for instance how the Gettysburg address ( quoted in full) contributed to English becoming the world's favourite language. You also get a potted history of Britain, only some of which seems relevant to the books premise.
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- Gwyn

Book Details

  • Release Date: 23-09-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios