Alpha Beta: How 26 Letters Shaped the Western Worl D

Author(s): John Man

Non Fiction

Offers an exploration, from BC to PCs, of the evolution of the most fundamental characters of our cultural history, the alphabet we so much take for granted.


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"Using a highly accessible format sharper than the dull edge of the usual historical text, Alpha Beta traces its subject on a historical journey around the Mediterranian. [It] should appeal to anyone with even a mild interest in ancient civilization and an affinity for language." (The Associated Press, September 10, 2001)

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 lives with his wife and family in London.

Foreword. Introduction: Of Giants and Genius. The Trouble with Pictures. The Bearable Burden of Syllables. Letters in the Wilderness. The Search for the Perfect Alphabet. Into Sinai. The Land of Purple. The Selfish Alphabet. The Great Leap Forward. Why We Don't Write Etruscan. The Limits to Growth. Appendix 1. Appendix 2. Bibliography. Acknowledgements. Index.

General Fields

  • : 9780471415749
  • : wiley
  • : wiley
  • : May 2006
  • : 203mm X 185mm X 28mm
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : John Man
  • : Paperback
  • : 411
  • : 320