Monday, April 12, 2010

The Years of Talking Dangerously - Geoffrey Nunberg

Book Club... And Then Some!

The Years of Talking Dangerously
by Geoffrey Nunberg

Book Review by
Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

In just over 50 vignettes on language and 265 pages, Nunberg offers witty and insightful reflections on the idiosyncrasies of the English language. More than anything else, he offers an “inside” (linguists’) look at the closing years of the Bush administration which, with respect to word usage, offered a plethora of examples to examine. It was—just as his presidency was—perhaps, the worst case of any president in history; thus, Nunberg had a great deal of information with which to work. Nunberg’s commentaries on language and politics appeared regularly on NPRs “Fresh Air,” in the Sunday New York Times, and in a variety of other newspapers across the country.

In each of the vignettes throughout the book, the original location of the short essay is mentioned, whether it be a “Fresh Air Commentary” or a newspaper. Nunberg’s insights offer an interesting—and sometimes provocative—insight into the culture of the Bush administration.

For me, his commentaries bring back a time that is easily and happily forgotten and along with it, the failed policies and ideas that not just reflect on a failed administration, but an administration, too, whose policies and corrupt practices (to the extent of deleting or altering scientific reports that opposed administration philosophies) that brought our society (and the world) to near total collapse. These are not pleasant memories. Just two examples were how Bush and Karl Rove used the phrase “people of faith,” or how the word “values” became the property of the right.

Get your copy of The Years of Talking Dangerously now at Amazon!

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