Alpha Beta

Alpha Beta

3.69 (262 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

An alphabet is a system for organising and recording thought. From the earliest neanderthal grunts right through to today's digital information overload, humans have needed some way of making sense of the world around them. The very earliest letters, which demonstrate this ('a' was the first sound of the Semitic word for 'ox', 'b' for 'house'), are still with us, virtually unchanged across the millennia. And while the western world today is divided by languages, it remains largely united by alphabet. Where these letters came from and how they have evolved over the years is more than just an academic exercise. John Man's ALPHA BETA tells a thrilling story of adventure, passion and intrigue.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 139.7 x 198.12 x 22.86mm | 294.83g
  • Headline Publishing Group
  • Headline Book Publishing
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 20 b/w illustrations
  • 0747271364
  • 9780747271369
  • 1,388,639

About John Man

John Man is a historian and travel writer with a special interest in Mongolia. His most recent books are GOBI: TRACKING THE DESERT and THE ATLAS OF THE YEAR 1000. He also wrote THE WAORANI: JUNGLE NOMADS OF ECUADOR and THE ATLAS OF D-DAY. He devised and presented the BBC Radio 4 series 'Survivors'.show more

Review quote

Radio: BBC Radio 4 'The Today Programme' 15/08Radio Leicester 7/09, Radio Northampton 7/09 Magazines: Focus Magazine rev September issue Newspapers: Financial Times Weekend feature by John Man to run at pub, Daily Mail rev dtbc 'The story of how [the alphabet] came into being is a fascinating one and Man is the ideal writer to tell it. His scholarship seems boundless ... He also has a journalist's ear for a story, beguiling us with innumerable asides (like the identity of George Bernard Shaw's inspiration for Henry Higgins in Pygmalion), curiosities (like the difference between Chinese and English palindromes) and the odd mystery (what happened to archaeologist William Flinders Petrie's disembodied head?) ... A tour de force ... It's the history of a sequence of squiggles ... that has been the driving force behind Western civilisation, education and democracy' Times Educational Supplement The story of how [the alphabet] came into being is a fascinating one and Man is the ideal writer to tell it. His scholarship seems boundless ... He also has a journalist's ear for a story, beguiling us with innumerable asides (like the identity of George Bernard Shaw's inspiration for Henry Higgins in Pygmalion), curiosities (like the difference between Chinese and English palindromes) and the odd mystery (what happened to archaeologist William Flinders Petrie's disembodied head?) ... A tour de force ... It's the history of a sequence of squiggles ... that has been the driving force behind Western civilisation, education and democracy * Times Educational Supplement * 'One of the greatest breakthroughs in the human story ... is the alphabet. Man manages to tell the tale ... in a short text that is crisp, taut and clear as a bell ... It is a fascinating story with many a beguiling subplot along the way. Yet he never loses the thread by allowing himself to get sidetracked' NEW SCIENTIST One of the greatest breakthroughs in the human story ... is the alphabet. Man manages to tell the tale ... in a short text that is crisp, taut and clear as a bell ... It is a fascinating story with many a beguiling subplot along the way. Yet he never loses the thread by allowing himself to get sidetracked * New Scientist *show more

Review Text

One of the greatest breakthroughs in the human story ... is the alphabet. Man manages to tell the tale ... in a short text that is crisp, taut and clear as a bell ... It is a fascinating story with many a beguiling subplot along the way. Yet he never loses the thread by allowing himself to get sidetracked New Scientistshow more

Rating details

262 ratings
3.69 out of 5 stars
5 21% (54)
4 39% (102)
3 31% (81)
2 8% (21)
1 2% (4)
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