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<P>After Overlook's amazing success with <i>The Stories of English</i> and <i>How Language Works</i>, David Crystal has been described by the <i>Times Higher Education Supplement</i> as a "latter-day Samuel Johnson." Now, in a delightfully discursive journey through the groves and thickets of the English language, Crystal sets off again, combining personal reflections, historical allusions, and traveler's observations to create a mesmerizing and entertaining narrative account of his encounters with the language and its speakers.</p> <P>Starting in his home of Wales and moving from England all the way to Poland and off to San Francisco, Crystal encounters numerous linguistic side roads that he cannot resist exploring. All are subject to Crystal's inquisitive exploration--from pubs to trains to Tolkien--and each digression casts new light on the development of English as it is spoken today.</p> <P><i>By Hook or By Crook</i> is a linguistic travelogue like no other, and an attempt to capture the seductive, quirky, teasing, tantalizing nature of the language itself--a jaunty Bill Bryson-esque exploration of language by a foremost expert on the subject.</p> <P>Already, the <i>Independent</i> has said that "those who love wordplay will be grateful. . . . At once chatty and sonorous, Crystal . . . ties place to subject and everything to words, their origins, habits and idiosyncrasies;" and the <i>Financial Times</i> says that "every page of Crystal's book contains some linguistic curiosity or flight of fancy." Crystal has been lauded widely, from academics to bloggers and all sorts of readers in between, and in <i>By Hook or By Crook</i>, Crystal has given us a book that will reach out and grab hold of the mind of every reader.