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The idea behind the alphabet - that language with all its wealth of meaning can be recorded with a few meaningless signs - is an extraordinary one. So extraordinary, in fact, that it has occurred only once in human history: in Egypt about 4000 years ago. Alpha Beta follows the emergence of the western alphabet as it evolved into its present form, contributing vital elements to our sense of identity along the way. The Israelites used it to define their God, the Greeks to capture their myths, the Romans to display their power. And today, it seems on the verge of yet another expansion through the internet.

Tracking the alphabet as it leaps from culture to culture, John Man weaves discoveries, mysteries and controversies into a story of fundamental historical significance.

Alpha beta - John Man

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Title
Alpha beta - how our alphabet shaped the Western world
Author
John Man
format
Paperback / softback
Publisher
Bantam Press
Language
English
UK Publication Date
20090313

The idea behind the alphabet - that language with all its wealth of meaning can be recorded with a few meaningless signs - is an extraordinary one. So extraordinary, in fact, that it has occurred only once in human history: in Egypt about 4000 years ago. Alpha Beta follows the emergence of the western alphabet as it evolved into its present form, contributing vital elements to our sense of identity along the way. The Israelites used it to define their God, the Greeks to capture their myths, the Romans to display their power. And today, it seems on the verge of yet another expansion through the internet.

Tracking the alphabet as it leaps from culture to culture, John Man weaves discoveries, mysteries and controversies into a story of fundamental historical significance.

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John Man is an historian and travel writer with a special interest in Mongolia and China. His books include The Great Wall,The Terracotta Army,The Gutenberg Revolution, Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan, and Attila the Hun.

Crisp, taut, and as clear as a bell ... a fascinating story with many a beguiling subplot along the way.
New Scientist

The story of how [the alphabet] came into being is a fascinating one and Man is the ideal writer to tell it. His scholarship seems boundless... he also has a journalist's ear for a story... straight out of Indiana Jones
Times Educational Supplement

Absorbing tale ... many surprises on the way.
Sunday Telegraph

A scholarly and fascinating history of the alphabet, from hieroglyphics to letters, and its dissemination from culture to culture and from past to present
The Times

Type
BOOK
Keyword Index
Alphabet - History.
Country of Publication
England
Number of Pages
335

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