I was provided a free copy of this book to read and review by the BookSneeze website. This book is essentially a collection of very brief histories of words and phrases that are common to the English language. It is organized into seventeen chapters, with each chapter hosting a group of related words (such as "Chapter 2: Sports and Recreation"). Accompanying the histories is the occasional picture to aid in visualization of certain words.
“What’s in a Word” was a very interesting book. While I am most definitely not an expert in the history of our language, the histories presented for the selected words seemed believable and accurate. I especially appreciated the way the book was divided up into manageable pieces – it was very easy to find an appropriate stopping point for any desired length of reading. The book would make a fantastic coffee table or bathroom book for house guests or a great gift for that person on your list who likes “different” books but may not have as much time to read as he/she would like.
As much as I liked this book, there are some things about it that are pseudo-negative. First, certain of the histories are extremely short and contain very little information. I realize that the point of this work was not to present an exhaustive history of each of the words presented, but a few histories were a bit disappointing. Also, a few of the words chosen for discussion seem to be outdated.