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Strictly Speaking

Admiring colleagues have called Edwin Newman an antipollutant, sensibly sardonic, a rare bird, a genial intellect, a man nobody is going to fool anywhere, anytime, anyway. Here, in his first book, these qualities are joined. Newman focuses on the sorry state of the English language as a reflection of the sorry state of the society. He skewers stereotypes, clichés, errors, and jargon used by weather forecasters, presidents, vice-presidents, sportscasters, diplomats, senators, pollsters, convention nominators, corporation executives, newsmen, advertisers, Watergate defendants, social scientists, college presidents, foreign correspondents, youth. If words are devalued, he argues, so are ideas and so are human beings. Drawing upon his wealth of experience in newspapers, radio, and television, Newman contends with headwind components, game plans, bottom lines, out of sight, confidence factors, unsightly bulges, nitty gritty, and such. He deflates the pompous, the grandiose, the stilted, and the hollow. He rejoices in language that is lucid, graceful, direct, civilized. The reader rejoices with him.

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