An Atlas of Words
By John Bemelmans Marciano
(Bloomsbury USA, Hardcover, 9781608193707, 176pp.)
Publication Date: October 26, 2010
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It's no secret that America's cookouts owe a lot to the exports of the European towns of Frankfurt and Hamburg, but we may not realize how much we've taken from two others: Budweis and Pilsen. Likewise, we know who to thank for Panama hats and Bermuda shorts. But did you know that Tuxedo Park, New York, brought Americans a staple of formal wear? Or that the Bikini Atoll gave us something dramatically less formal?
In this ingenious follow-up to the popular Anonyponymous, John Bemelmans Marciano brings us a new, geographical, way of thinking about words. This book takes us on a lively tour of American, European, and world history, revealing our linguistic heritage in all its richness and—to use another toponym—serendipity. Illustrated with maps drawn in Marciano's witty style, this book is consistently smart, entertaining, and enlightening. It makes a perfect gift for language lovers, whether they come from Cologne, Germany, or the Canary Islands.
John Bemelmans Marciano is the author and illustrator of many books, including Madeline and the Cats of Rome, Harold's Tail, and Anonyponymous. An artist and self-professed word geek, he lives in Brooklyn with his wife, daughter, and two cats.