Monday, February 24, 2020

Review of Words From the White House by Paul Dickson

Words From the White House

"A compendious, entertaining look at our nation's leaders through words and turns of phrase." — Kirkus Reviews

From George Washington's "New Yorker" and Thomas Jefferson's "pedicure" to Theodore Roosevelt's "lunatic fringe," Richard Nixon's "silent majority," and Donald Trump's "covfefe," this entertaining and eminently readable volume compiles words and phrases that were coined or popularized by American presidents. Discover the origins of "bloviate" (Warren G. Harding), "military-industrial complex" (Dwight D. Eisenhower), "misunderestimate" (George W. Bush), "squatter" (James Madison), and other terms that have helped define American culture. The entries are listed alphabetically, featuring a definition and — in most cases — a brief discussion that places them in historical context.

"Thoroughly enjoyable." — The Washington Post

"The author is an essayist and lexicographer who presents this entertaining look at how presidents have used and shaped our language." — The Dispatch (Columbus)

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**My thoughts**
I'm a logophile, so this kind of book appeals to me. I love etymology and often find myself looking up the histories of words and phrases. I guess I just didn't realize before how many words and phrases were actually coined by US Presidents. So this book also gives you some history lessons as well as the background of some of your favorite terms. It has been updated from the original version to allow for the foibles and new words coined by the current occupant of the White House, and I am guessing to correct any previous errors.

It isn't necessarily the kind of book you are going to sit down and read from cover to cover in an evening. Instead, you'll digest parts of it here and there, making it a great book to have on the coffee table (or yes, even bathroom reading). I found myself hoping to memorize some of the stories in the event they pop up in a trivia game or something like that. I did actually recognize a couple of facts from recent trivia nights.

Being a lover of words and history, I think I would have enjoyed this book even as a kid. I think it can appeal to all ages.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me a review copy. I was not obligated to leave a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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