Unspeak™

by Steven Poole.

How language is (ab)used in order to persuade by stealth.

Unspeak™

This is a great idea for a book: an examination of how people adopt/adapt words and phrases in order to persuade other people. It's a form of propaganda. Examples given in the Introduction include pro-life, tax relief and Friends of the Earth.

It's an entertaining, well-researched and well-written book, but the constant referrals to the Iraq War during the last three-quarters of the book began to irritate towards the end: Unspeak™ is a fascinating subject, so why limit the analysis to such a narrow field? Perhaps Poole is planning a sequel.

I was disappointed to see that my pet-hate example of Unspeak™, wind farms, didn't get a mention in the book. But don't let these minor gripes put you off: Unspeak™ is both a useful word and a useful book.

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